We have paid a courtesy call on the Kelantan Mentri Besar, Datuk Haji Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat and discussed the latest political developments, both inside and outside the country, with senior Kelantan PAS leaders, including Deputy Mentri Besar, Haji Abdul Halim bin Abdul Rahman and the Kelantan State Assembly Speaker, Hj. Wan Abdul Rahim bin Wan Abdullah.
We exchanged views particularly on the Iranian parliamentary elections where reformists had won a landslide victory against the conservatives, demanding reforms and more democratic space for the Iranians. The Iranian parliamentary election has attracted international attention as it has refocussed debate on the question whether Islam and democracy are incompatible or whether there could be a historic meeting of minds to postulate that although power is divine in origin, it belongs to the people.
Tomorrow is deferred 2000 Budget day. When Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin again presents the 2000 Budget, he should focus on several issues which have received great public concern in the past four months.
One of the questions is whether Malaysians will have to pay for failed privatisation projects in the government's re-nationalisation to bail out crony companies which had been favoured with such privatisation plums
Daim should explain the latest position with regard to the government's proposal to renationalise the national sewerage system by taking control of Indah Water Konsortium which is weighed down with RM700 million debt, whether it is true that IWK's listed parent, Prime Utilities Bhd. would be compensated to the tune of RM200 million, and most important of all, why the Malaysian taxpayers should finally bear the burden of the failed sewerage service privatisation project rather than the corporate movers-and-shakers who need not take any "hair cut" but must be compensated for their failures.
Daim should also explain the outcome of government's efforts to bail out Sistem Transit Aliran Ringan Sdn. Bhd. (STAR), which with equity capital of RM700 million has bank loans totaling RM2.1 billion and government support loans of RM685 million as well as Projek Usahasama Transit Ringan Automatik (Putra) which is carrying a RM2 billion debt with project costs of about RM5 billion.