A week earlier, the Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Ong Ka Ting had tried to refute the DAP MP for Tanjong, Chow Kong Yow and denied that the IWK was a failure. Ong even said that the government was satisfied with the standards and services of the IWK.
But yesterday, Pandikar admitted the very opposite - that the IWK is the greatest privatisation failure in the country.
Pandikar said that the cost of developing sewerage treatment facilities for the country was estimated at some RM17 billion, and IWK could not generate sufficient funds to undertake the task and that to date, the government has given the IWK RM1.425 billion in loans to finance the sewerage system development.
The Cabinet Ministers better get their act together and decide on a consistent government line - whether the government is renationalising IWK because it was a failure or a success.
Even more important, the Malaysian taxpayers are entitled to know why they have to pay a RM200 million "golden handshake" as compensation to the latest concessionaire for the government's bailing out of the IWK, after pumping in RM1.425 billion into the company - which are clearly irrecoverable losses.
The Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, said after the retabling of the 2000 Budget last month that the government had "paid and we have signed the agreement" for the takover of the IWK sewerage privatisation project.
The government should table the agreement signed by the government to take over IWK so that Members of Parliament can scrutinise it as to whether public interests have best been served, particularly the justification for a RM200 million "golden handshake" to release the sewerage privatisation concessionaire of the biggest privatisation failure in the country.
Until the government take-over, the concessionaire for sewerage services had changed hands three times in the last seven years, and the Malaysian public are rightly concerned that they have been the greater losers in the sewerage privatisation with a "golden handshake" given for each change of ownership - with all the three "golden handshakes" finally billed to the Malaysian taxpayers now that the government has renationalised the IWK!
The Government should present a White Paper on the greatest privatisation failure in the country, giving full details of the three changes of ownership of the concessionaire, and the "golden handshake" each change of concessionaire ownership involved.