by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, June 5, 1993:
Samy Vellu has totally misconceived his role as Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts when he reacted to Taiping Municipal Council’s decision to charge assessment rates for electricity and telephone poles by declaring that this could lead to increased power and telephone tariffs
Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has totally misconceived his role as Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts when he reacted even before Tenaga Nasional and Syarikat Telekom Malaysia to the proposal by Taiping Municipal Council’s to charge assessment rates for electricity and telephone poles.
Two days ago, when announcing the imposition of assessment rate on electricity and telephone poles with effect from July 1, Taiping Municipal Council (MPT) president, Hilmi Abdullah said that approval for local authorities to change Tenaga Nasional and Telekom Malaysia assessment for their structures was agreed upon during the local authority technical officers’ meeting held in Malacca in May.
He estimated that the MPT can expect to collect an estimated RM 25,987 per year from the 9,568 Tenaga Nasional electricity poles and 9,929 Telekom Malaysia telephone poles in operation within the municipality.
Yesterday, Datuk Samy Vellu lashed out at the TMC, declaring its decision as against the Government’s objectives, warning that it could lead to increases in telephone and electricity charges.
While reserving my position at the moment on the question of imposition of assessment for telephone and electricity poles, Samy Vellu’s role as Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts deserves closer examination.
Samy Vellu acts as spokeman for Tenaga Nasional when its suits him but denies that he has any responsibility on the power crisis when questioned in Parliament
When DAP MPs demanded explanation for the inefficiencies and failures of his Ministry and Tenaga Nasional in creating the national energy crisis with repeated power blackouts and brownouts, causing enormous losses to industries, business and the country, Samy Vellu claimed that Tenaga Nasional has become a privatized company and that as Minister he is not responsible for Tenaga Nasional’s failures.
If this is the case, why should Samy Vellu jump on the Taiping Municipal Council for its decision to be the first of the local authorities to impose assessment on Tenaga Nasional and Telekom for electricity and telephone poles and warn of increase in electricity and telephone tariffs?
Isn’t it for the Tenaga Nasional and Telekom to object to the imposition of assessment and to submit a case to the Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and Posts that this could lead to an increase in electricity and telephone charges?
May be, Tenaga Nasional and Telekom may decide to absorb the new assessment charges for power and telephone poles in view of the huge profits both are making.
Samy Vellu acts as spokesman for Tenaga Nasional when it suits him but denies that he has any responsibility for the power crisis when he is questioned in Parliament.
Even before Tenaga Nasional and Telekom have raised the issue of increases in electricity and telephone charges, Samy Vellu has already raised the demand. What type of a Ministerial role is this?
Despite the national power crisis, Tenaga Nasional posted a group pre-tax profit of RM 911 million for the half year ended Feb. 28, 1993, a 15.3 per cent increase over the previous corresponding period’s RM 790 million.
As a result, the group is expected to make a pre-tax profit of RM 1.6 billion for the year ended August 31, 1993.
With these huge profit figures, even if the local authorities impose assessment on electricity and telephone poles, there should be no automatic case or justification for Tenaga Nasional to increase electricity charges.
Samy Vellu has become so confused a Cabinet Minister that he has clearly lost his way as to what are his responsibilities and what are not – forgetting that he should speak up for the consumers and not for Tenaga Nasional Bhd or Telekom.
Finally, it is inconceivable that the Cabinet had not been informed beforehand of the decision by the local authorities to impose assessment on electricity and telephone poles. Could it be that Datuk Samy Vellu was on one of his many trips overseas when such a matter was brought to the Cabinet for its attention and decision?