Unfair deals with firms set tongues wagging

  • Nation
  • Monday, 12 Dec 2005

KOTA KINABALU: Tongues are wagging here over lopsided agreements between the state and certain companies. 

The issue came into focus at the recent State Assembly sitting and calls are growing louder for the Anti-Corruption Agency to probe the deals. 

Former deputy chief minister Datuk Lajim Ukin brought up the matter while dismissing talk of Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman being allegedly linked to several current shopping mall and supermarket projects. 

Lajim had told the House that he would take responsibility for any lopsided deals signed during his term as state Local Government and Housing Minister between 1995 and 1999. 

He said it was, however, unfair to accuse local authorities of entering into unfavourable deals as the state‘s water supply privatisation deal during the tenure of a previous administration could be considered lopsided as well. 

Musa later disclosed that all except three of the 33 agreements scrutinised by the state Attorney-General involving the ministry had been terminated after they were found to be one-sided and unprofitable. 

Yesterday, Lajim said that not all of the remaining 30 agreements could be considered lopsided, adding that policy changes as well as the state of the economy had caused these deals to be unprofitable to the government. 

The controversial deals have become a hot topic outside the House, with much finger pointing being done.  

Discussions about the deals have filled the forum pages of local newspapers with calls for the cancelled agreements to be made public. 

Consumers Association of Sabah president Datuk Patrick Sindu said the state must ensure that it did not end up paying huge compensation should the affected firms sue the government. 

Echoing similar views, Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sabah deputy chairman Christina Liew said the high number of lopsided deals was disturbing. 

She said the government should first try to rectify the “one-sidedness” of these agreements before terminating them.  

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