Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Komtar, George Town on Monday, 28th March 2011:
The Federal Government should allow State Governments the choice to opt out of the Solid Waste and Urban Cleansing Management Act and instead choose its own contractor to be responsible for these critical urban cleansing duties
The Penang state government welcomes the postponement of the implementation of the Solid Waste and Urban Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672) to another date to be announced by the Federal government. Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said in Alor Star yesterday that the enforcement of the Act which was supposed to be effective this April 30 but the Prime Minister wanted it to be postponed as some technical aspects needed to be sorted out first.
The Penang state government had opposed the policy of privatising solid waste management set by the federal government because of three principal reasons. First, neither the state government nor the local authorities has been consulted about the entire privatisation exercise. The privatised contracts are all forcibly imposed on the state governments or local authorities.
Secondly there is lack of accountability, as neither the state government nor the local authorities have a say in the running of the privatised project by the preferred contractor. If the people suffer because of poor management, the state government has no power to enforce compliance or punish non-performance. There may also be long delays in attending to problems because the matters can only be finalised in Putrajaya not in Penang. This goes against the basic concept of Think Globally but Act Locally.
Finally there is no open tender by the federal government in choosing the contractor who succeeded in gaining the privatised contract. This may lead to crony projects which will burden the people with inflated price, poor quality of services rendered and sub-standard management. The experiences in some states who have adopted privatised contractors selected without open tender by the Federal government has been costly, frustrating, time-consuming and thoroughly unpleasant.
Choosing contractors without an open public tender, without practicing consultation and without respecting accountability goes against the very tenets of "Blue Ocean Strategy" of finding new markets with new and innovative ideas or products. Relying on crony projects and burdening the public with inflated prices and poor service is not the Blue Ocean strategy been promoted by Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Therefore, the Federal government should allow state governments the choice to opt out of the Solid Waste and Urban Cleansing Management Act and instead choose its own contractor to be responsible for these critical urban cleansing duties.
*Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister