Disclose details of IWK deal

Pakatan Rakyat leaders are demanding the disclosure of details on the shrouded takeover bid of national sewerage company Indah Water Konsortium (IWK).

Secretariat member Liew Chin Tong from DAP said the coalition is against the privatisation of sewerage and argued that it is best to place it in state governments’ hands.

An online news portal reported yesterday of a takeover bid of IWK by a 1Malaysia Development Bhd-led consortium 11 years after the government was forced to bail out the national sewerage company from financial predicaments under its previous owners.

It was reported that the 1MDB consortium will acquire the company for RM1 and also take over its debts which include more than RM1.5 billion in loans still owed to the ministry.

The consortium, seeking a 60-year concession from the government to be paid back in the principal amount and interest on the loan over the long term, also has plans to link sewerage charges to water usage.

The takeover bid was confirmed via a statement issued to Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau that was published today saying 1MDB was at an “evaluation stage”.

The public have been wary of IWK ever since the company forced them to pay for separate sewerage charges which had previously been part of the water bill.

Liew echoed the same view and said that the public should not be forced to pay for extra sewerage service as the bill should be included in the water service fees.

“Sewerage should be under the state government and the bill should come as a whole together with the water service (charges),” he told a press conference here.

Telcos out to make profit

Meanwhile, PKR member of the Pakatan secretariat Tian Chua criticised the move to charge 6% tax on prepaid services by mobile telephone companies (telcos).

The PKR vice-president said the amount is big considering that the prepaid service is targeted at those who cannot afford a fixed line.

“The telcos will argue that postpaid services are also charged a 6% tax rate but our argument is that with prepaid you are already paying upfront,” he told the same press conference.

The Batu MP also said that telcos are making profits from the “residue” of unused prepaid credit after exceeding its expiry date.

“The timing is just not right,” he said, referring to the inflationary pressure consumers face amid a global economic slowdown.

Tian said he will study the issue further and aims to reveal the amount of profit telcos are making without the additional 6% tax charge.

He also urged the government to intervene in the matter and force telco companies to halt their plans to hike charges pending further studies.


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