By Neville Spykerman (The Malaysian Insider)
SHAH ALAM, Feb 26 — Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, the chairman of Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd said today the RM5.1 million salary paid to him in 2007 for running the companies were justified.
Rozali, was speaking in response to the disclosures from the State Water Review Panel.
During a media briefing earlier, today, the panel also revealed that Syabas was financially stressed due to poor management practices, among them paying Puncak Niaga RM700,000 in management fee every month.
Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago, who is a member of the panel, said Syabas had been paying the fees, since 2004.
However Rozali denied any knowledge of it.
The Selangor State and Federal Government are currently in dispute over the restructuring and consolidating the water services industries in the state.
The state has offered to end the concessions and to repurchase the assets of Puncak Niaga, Syarikat Pengeluaran Air Selangor Holdings (SPLASH) and Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd, which treat raw water and Syabas, which distributes it to consumers.
The concessionaires have rejected the state’s offer of RM5.7 billion after the Federal Government announced they were entering into direct negotiations with the four companies.
Rozali today sidestepped questions on how much the concessionaries were seeking.
He said the actual amount would depend on Puncak Niaga and Syabas’ “golden shareholders”, which is the Ministry of Finance and their bond holders.
“We will have to get the endorsement of all parties before we can decide on the amount.”
He added that under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 , the concessionaires had a choice of maintaining the existing concession agreements or migrating to a new deal which is still being negotiated with the Federal Government.
However members of the Selangor Water Review Panel claimed today the federal government plan of buying the assets of the company while allowing them to continue treating and distribute the water as a bailout.
The panel disclosed the concessionaries collectively had debts amounting to RM6.4 billion.
Santiago said under the federal plan, the concessionaires huge debts would be taken care of while they continued making profits. “The federal plan defeats the purposed of the restructuring exercise.”
He said the concessionaires will just be called licensees under the deal and will still be able to raise water tariffs at the rate of between 10 and 12 per cent, every three years.