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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Inviting Suggestions from the Public is an Admittance of Gross Incompetence and Failure of Government

Let’s face some hard facts.

The government wants to be seen to be doing the right thing and has now come up with this “brilliant” suggestion of asking the public to make suggestions so that it can improve the delivery system.

To me not implementing the IPCMC after the recommendations of the Royal Commission is the most glaring example of a government that has failed to deliver a basic requirement.

We now have a situation where the police force, a basic delivery system for law and order has the audacity to simply say “NO” to the government.
No doubt the police appears to be doing much to win back the confidence of the public but there must never be this breakdown of the government and civil servant relationship.

Asking for everyone to now contribute to improve systems only confirms that we have many incompetent leaders in government that do not inspire confidence.

We do have some bright spots though.
The latest one is the possibility that the toll agreements may be made public. One really wonders why the government needed to get the concession company to agree that the terms were under the OSA in the first place.

Since they have asked for some suggestions, here is one that will benefit all Malaysians.

For all privatisation projects the following principles will apply:

The government will retain one golden share that will enable it to buy back the company at a price to be determined by the following formula or something similar in the agreement:

The buy-back price will be the lower of the following:
Initial project estimated cost plus 15% for each year of operations or the agreed toll collections for the remaining life of the concession period.

For example if the toll project was budgeted at RM800m and the project is bought back after 4 years, the first price is RM800m plus 60% or RM848m.

Supposing the toll period has 16 years to the end and the projected toll earnings is RM950m, then the buy back price would be RM848m.

Any project cost overruns would be the company’s responsibility since it was a BOT project. This way only companies with competent managers will be able to participate.

All privatisation projects will be subject to public scrutiny and all such agreements excluded from OSA rules.

In a way the road tolls petition* shows how all Malaysians can object towards a system that has serious flaws as that toll collector does not discriminate on any race basis.

Perhaps all Malaysians will be able to make a more positive contribution towards nation-building if we remove most of the “crutch” policies.


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