DAP calls for independent inquiry into four-hour power blackout in five states yesterday and introduction of a penalty clause imposing liability on TNB and its Chairman, chief executive and directors for failure to provide uninterrupted power supply because of negligence or mismanagement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): DAP calls for an independent inquiry intoj the four-hour power blackout in five states yesterday and the introduction of a penalty clause imposing liability on Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and its Chairman, chief executive and directors for failure to provide uninterrupted power supply because of negligence or mismanagement.
The complacent attitude of certain Barisan Nasional leaders, like the Deputy Minister for Energy, Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Tan Chai Ho, that power outages are commonplace (Sin Chew) implying that the consumers should not be outraged by it, is most deplorable and totally unacceptable.
At least the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has taken a more responsible attitude in calling for a study of the causes of the breakdown to prevent them from recurring, although one wonders whether this was because his programme in Langkawai yesterday was interrupted.
TNB Chairman, Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin,
said that the power disruption that hit the northern states could have been
This is another deplorable public utility attitude, which must be censured so that it would not breed undesirable public utility standards.
Just because there were recent power blackouts in New York and London can be no justification for blackouts in Malaysia.
In London, TNB’s counterpart, National Grid faces a fine of up to one billion pound sterling or RM6 billion for the half-hour massive power failure that brought much of central London to a rush-hour standstill last Friday.
This is because under its licence, National Grid has legal obligations to maintain the power grid to the required standard or face a punitive levy of a financial penalty of ten per cent of the company’s annual turnover of 9.4 billion pound sterling.
TNB should also be required to meet legal obligations to provide power supplies to the consumers to the required standard, triggering financial liabilities and penalties in the event of any short-fall of such a standard.
In the United Kingdom, there is the further provision where the pay package including bonus of the chief executive and directors of National Grid are geared to the ability of National Grid to deliver power around the country. If an inquiry concluded that a power blackout was the fault of management, the chief executive and directors would lose out financially – running into millions of pounds or tens of millions of ringgit.
There is no reason why the remuneration and/or bonus of the TNB Chairman, Awang Adek Hussin, the president and chief executive officer Datuk Pian Sukro and TNB Directors should not be similarly made liable for any failure to provide uninterrupted power supply, whether because of negligence or mismanagement.
In London, the House of Commons Select Committee on Trade and Industry will be holding hearings on Sept. 16 to cross-examine the senior executives of the London power company for the half-hour blackout in London last Friday.
Is the Malaysian Parliament, which meets today, capable of getting its act together to establish a Select Committee to conduct a full inquiry into the four-hour power blackout in five states yesterday by summoning TNB executives to appear before its hearings to ensure that there will be no recurrence of the blackout and that TNB would meet high standards of maintaining the power supplies in the country?
As a model corporate citizen, TNB should on its own assume full responsibility for the four-hour blackout yesterday by making a compensation to all the affected consumers in the five states as indication of its assumption of responsibility and earnest that it would not fall short of the high standards of maintaining the power grid in the country.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman