Cabinet should impress on TNB its role as a GLC to be a model of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and overrule its decision not to pay compensation for the January 13 five-state power blackout by hiding behind consumer-unfriendly guidelines of Energy Commission
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Saturday): The Cabinet on Wednesday should impress on Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) its role as a Government-linked Company (GLC) to be a model of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and overrule its decision not to pay compensation for the January 13 five-state power blackout by hiding behind the consumer-unfriendly guidelines of the Energy Commission.
The Cabinet should also direct the Energy Commission to review its obsolete and consumer-unfriendly guidelines which purportedly exempted TNB from any liability for power outages to consumers if power is restored within four hours in the event of minor faults and 12 hours for major faults. The issue of compensation for disruptions of power supply should not just hinge on length of power blackout, but on the actual losses incurred by the consumers, whether industrial, commercial or household.
In the first few days of the five-state power outage, the new TNB management under one of the GLC whiz-kids, chief executive officer Datuk Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, impressed Malaysians with a new culture of responsibility – not only with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi directing TNB that there should be no more power outages, but TNB officials admitting “It has never happened. Should not have happened. Cannot happen” as well as conceding that the blackout adversely affected investor confidence as well as TNB management performance measured through the Key Performance Index (KPI).
All these humble, sensitive and socially responsible corporate responses, however, have been undone by the stubborn, bureaucratic and unimaginative refusal of the TNB Board and management to accept responsibility and pay compensation for the January 13 power blackout – which is a manifestation and symbol of corporate irresponsibility!
A responsible TNB and model GLC – which incidentally has former Tenaga Minister Datuk Leo Moggie as Chairman – would hold emergency Board and management meetings before the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to revoke its earlier decision not to offer rebates to the three million consumers affected by the January 13 blackout, as this is the right and proper thing to do for a GLC which is serious and genuine about CSR.
If the TNB Board and management have to be overruled by the Cabinet to do what is right, then the TNB has failed to be a model GLC, and an overhaul the entire TNB Board and management is overdue.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman