SET UP INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO PURCHASE OF SELANGOR’S WATER ASSETS

SET UP INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO PURCHASE OF SELANGOR’S WATER ASSETS
Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 12 Nov 2016

The conflicting accounts over the purchase of Selangor’s water assets from Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash) by Selangor MB Azmin Ali and his predecessor Khalid Ibrahim give cause for concern.

The previous Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim revealed on Nov 5 that the state government has offered RM2.94 billion for Splash – almost 11 times higher than the sum originally offered, RM250 million. Selangor MB Azmin Ali has rebutted this and claims that Khalid had already agreed on the (new) price. Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali has alleged that when Khalid Ibrahim was the menteri besar (between 2008 and 2014), he made Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash) an offer of RM2.975 billion to take over the equity of the company. It did not help the general public when Selangor House Speaker refused to allow former Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim time to explain to the State Assembly about the Splash original deal negotiated during his tenure.

Mirroring BN practice of Chief Executive control

The two squabbling MBs have been the only ones who have commented on this important issue affecting Selangor taxpayers. It begs the question why the negotiations over the purchase of Selangor’s multi-billion water assets should be the sole preserve of the Menteri Besar’s office. The PAS and DAP executive councilors have been quiet about the negotiations with Gamuda, Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah and the federal government even though the PAS executive councillor is in charge of the water portfolio in the state government. Is the Pakatan Harapan state government trying to mirror the BN practice of Chief Executive control of multi-billion contracts they have so often criticized?

It has been alleged that former Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim was ousted after he refused to accede to Splash demands. During the controversy which led to the so-called ‘Kajang Move’, PKR accused him of corruption and published a thick dossier of misdeeds for which PKR leader Saifuddin Nasution later retracted and apologised in court.

Only an independent inquiry can reveal the truth

The mud-slinging between the two MBs will not help to dispel the doubts created in the minds of Malaysian taxpayers. The issue can only be solved through an independent enquiry by credible professionals who should have full access to all parties and documents concerned in this deal.

During the controversy over the so-called ‘Kajang Move’ and the Selangor MB putsch, I said “the show ain’t over until the portly gentleman sings”. It has taken him some time but we should hear him out in the interest of Selangor taxpayers.