Contract given to incinerator designer and builder Ebara in dire straits should be terminated to safeguard Malaysians' interest

Press Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Ministry of Housing and Local Government should terminate the contract given to Ebara Corporation of Japan which is in dire straits to safeguard the interest of Malaysians.

According to a latest report (attached) dated April 30th by Nikkei Industrial news, the incinerator designer and builder Ebara Corporation has recently retrenched about 400 people out of 1,800 from its engineering division due to poor technology and wrong estimates on building cost.

The company lost about 27 billion yen (US$ 225 million) last year largely due to the failure of gassification-type incinerators. The cost of construction estimated by Ebara was found much lower than the actual cost. The actual cost was found to be very much higher simply because the company could not run the plant smoothly. The double jeopardy arises when the new technology used by Ebara turned out to be very problematic. Ebara has to spend a lot of extra money to fix the problem. In last January, the extra budget was estimated at 7.5 billion yen (US$62.5 million).

The same report says that Ebara has spent 6.8 billion yen (US$56.7 million) to fix the plants built in 2002, and it will certainly need more money to fix the plants built this year. Ebara has estimated the building cost of incinerators for 2002 at 73 billion yen, but it has spent about 90 billion to build those plants.

Last Saturday, those who watched the program "Japan Today" over ASTRO would know that Japanese are now calling their government to close down all incinerators due to serious environmental problems. Many incinerator operators were slapped with summonses because of causing damage to the environment. Many farmers and fishermen have been claiming compensation from the authorities because the discharge of dioxin and other toxic gases and particles from incinerators have brought serious consequences to their well being and livelihood.

Malaysians do not want to be in the same shoes with the Japanese. We cannot afford incinerators for both safety and cost factors.

Malaysians do not need incinerators. And we certainly do not want a contractor who's in deep trouble to build incinerators for us.MCA new president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting should know better than ordinary Malaysians as a minister.


* Liu Tian Khiew, DAP national publicity secretary and DAP Selangor secretary