Daim said: "We have paid and we have signed the agreement."
The Finance Minister had committed a gross dereliction of duty in not informing Parliament and the nation in his 2000 Budget why the government is using taxpayersí hard-earned money to give a RM200 million "golden handshake" for the failed Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) sewerage privatisation project, after the government had pumped in about RM1 billion since the privatisation. The previous Parliament only approved another loan of RM150 million to help meet Indah Water Konsortiumís operational costs six months ago.
A day before Daimís confirmation, IWKís parent company Prime Utilities said in a statement to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange that talks for the government to take over IWK were in an advanced stage.
Now who was telling the truth: Prime Utilities last Thursday that the take-over negotiations were in an "advanced stage" or Daimís statement on Friday that the agreement had been signed. Or both were true - which meant that the takeover agreement was signed earlier on Friday itself?
In any event, the government agreement to take over the failed IWK sewerage privatisation project should be made tabled immediately in Parliament to be scrutinised by MPs in the current debate on the 2000 Budget
The concessionaire for sewerage services had changed hands four times in the last seven years, but it is clear that in every changeover, the previous concessionaireís interests are fully protected to avoid suffering any losses - in fact ensuring some profit - and it was the taxpayers who finally have to pick up the tab for the failure of the sewerage privatisation four times over!
This is why the agreement which the government had signed for the take-over of the sewerage privatisation should be tabled in Parliament without any delay, to allow Parliament to have the final say as to whether to approve the take-over, and if so, the terms, particularly on whether there should be a RM200 million compensation to Prime Utilities for the takeover.