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Friday, November 19, 2010

Briefing: SYABAS stealing billions of public money

How SYABAS is stealing billions of our money from under our noses

Here’s a basic simple write-up. If you can afford the time, do swing by a briefing:

Date : Saturday, 20th November 2010
Time : 2.30pm – 5.00pm
Venue : Bilik Gerakan, 1st Floor, MBPJ Headquarters, Jalan Yong Shook Lin

In 1997, the Barisan Nasional state and federal governments began privatising the water industry in Selangor. Then Menteri Besar Muhammad Taib chose the treasurer from his Umno division, Tan Sri Rozali Ismail to be the main beneficiary of this privatisation exercise.

By 2010, the amounts of losses generated by leakage and corruption in the private water companies have now run into the hundreds of millions. Amongst the many questionable financial practices found in the private water companies are:

1. An audit report on Syabas showed more than 72% of contracts, worth RM 600 million in total, was awarded to companies chosen through direct negotiation not by open tender process. Also, RM 325 million was found to be ‘missing’ in discrepancies between Syabas’ public accounts and the records of contracts awarded from 2005 to 2007.

3. In June 2005, Syabas contravened the terms of their concession when they imported RM 375 million worth of pipes from an Indonesian company instead of sourcing them locally. The Indonesian company was owned by Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, the CEO of Syabas.

4. Tan Sri Rozali Ismail’s salary is RM 5.1 million a year or RM 425,000 a month.

5. The four water companies have a combined debt of RM 6.4 billion. The federal government has given Syabas a soft loan of RM 320 million. The total interest on this 20 year loan is RM 250 million, and Syabas will not be required to pay a single sen of this amount. Instead, this cost will be fully borne by Malaysian taxpayers.

In light of this appalling financial mismanagement, the Selangor state government has prevented Syabas from raising water tariffs by 37%, and is now endeavouring to reacquire all water concessions from the private water companies. Their goal is to eliminate the element ofprivatised profit and socialised losses, stop the corruption and leakage, and ensure quality delivery of water at affordable rates. This move requires public and support and pressure to succeed.

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