by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tan Jung, Lim Kit. Siang, on Saturday, July 24, 1993:
Kit Siang prepared to accept Anwar Ibrahim’s challenge to repeat outside Parliament his statement that Anwar is “kawan karib” of Tan Sri Vincent Tan
I am prepared to accept Anwar Ibrahim’s challenge to me in Parliament on Thursday to repeat outside Parliament what I said during the debate on the Sewerage Services Bill 1993.
During my speech on the Sewerage Services Bill 1993,- I said that the privatisation of the RiM6.27 billion national sewerage services system, the single largest privatisation contract in Malaysian history, should be by way of open render. Instead, it had been given to one of the “highest corporate fliers’. Tan Sri Vincent Tan, whom I described as ‘kawan karib’ of the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as well as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir- Mohamad.
It was here that Anwar Ibrahim stood up to challenge me to repeat outside what I had said. I had instantly accepted his challenge and asked whether he wanted me to repeat outside the House my statement that he is a “kawan karib’ of Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
Anwar Ibrahim said he did challenge me to repeat outside the statement that he is a ‘kawan karib’ of Tan Sri Vincent Tan which he denied claiming that he did not know Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s house – but wanted me to repeat outside Parliament my allegation that he had personal financial interest in the privatisation of the RM6.27 billion sewerage services system.
When questioned, Anwar Ibrahim agreed that I had not alleged that he had personal financial interest in the sewerage privatisation, but he was “anticipating1 that I ‘would be making the allegation.
I told Anwar Ibrahim that I am prepared to accept his challenge to repeat outside the House what I had said in Parliament, but not what I had not said, as his “anticipation” was mere “hallucination’.
I still stand by my position, and if Anwar Ibrahim wants me to repeat outside Parliament my statement that he is “kawan karib’ of Tan Sri Vincent Tan, I will do so within 24 hours of confirmation by Anwar Ibrahim.
The privatisation of the sewerage system is a matter of great public interest, and the public have the right to all information about it as well as to demand that the largest privatisation contract he awarded by open tender.
Under the present privatisation proposal, the RM500 million allocated by the government for sewerage development under the Sixth Malaysia Plan would be given to Indah Consortium (the corporation set up for the sewerage privatisation) as a soft-loan with low-interest as start-up capital.
Further-more, once the privatisation contract is awarded, Indah Consortium will be able to collect, sewerage tariff from the 1.25 million households in 43 local authorities, which will be included in the water bill.
The Minister for Housing and Local Government, Dr. Ting Chew Peh said on 12th July 1993 that every household will have to pay between RM3 to RM10 a month for the first five years when sewerage services are privatised.
This works out. to RM4.8 million to RM12.5 million sewerage tariff which would be collected by Indah Consortium per month, or RM57.2 million to RM150.5 million per year.
It is most regrettable that instead of explaining why the single largest privatisation contract was not awarded by open tender, Anwar Ibrahim was trying to create a smokescreen. I hope that Minister for Housing and Local Government, Dr. Ting Chew Peh can explain when he winds up the debate on the Sewerage Services Bill on Monday why the government had decided against open tender for the sewerage privatisation although the Barisan Nasional government claims to be open, accountable and transparent.