Wednesday, March 19, 2008

PUNCAK NIAGA Kaut Untung Melampau? / 'Illegal deals' not binding

(Pimpinan BA, PAStikan Rakyat DAPat KeAdilan!)
(Rakyat, Teruskan Lonjakkan Minda!)

SANGGAHTOKSAGO. COM

Air: PUNCAK NIAGA Kaut Untung Melampau?

By TARMIZI MOHD JAM

TAN SRI Khalid Ibrahim akan mengkaji semula perjanjian antara Kerajaan Selangor dengan Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd bagi pengumpulan air mentah di Sg. Sireh yang ditandatangani pada 7 Mac sehari sebelum pengundian bagi pilihan raya umum ke 12 lalu.

Status rahsia perjanjian itu sudah diminta beliau, agar Penasihat Undang-Undang Negeri membatalkannya.

Beliau mendakwa, terdapat ketidakseimbangan daripada hasil yang diberi kepada negeri dan rakyat.

Perjanjian itu hanya boleh memperkayakan pihak yang mendapat kontrak iiatu Puncak Niaga.

Langkah berani dan tegas ini dianggap penganalisa politik sebagai menyebelahi rakyat dan ia serasi dengan hasrat parti-parti yang menguasai Kerajaan Selangor itu.



Malaysiakini
Mar 17, 08 11:11am
The new governments in Kedah, Perak, Penang and Selangor may not be bound by contracts and business deals made by the previous governments if they are found to be illegal.

While the general principle is that the new governments are bound by the commitments made by their predecessors, it is nevertheless subject to whether they are legal and valid in the first place, said law professor Abdul Aziz Bari of International Islamic University Malaysia.

He was responding to a recent controversy arising out of a business deal made by the administration led by former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

It has emerged that the Selangor state government signed a deal with Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd the day before the general election to operate and maintain a water treatment plant in Tanjung Karang.

Questions were raised as to how the state government could have signed the deal while being in a caretaker government .

Following this, State Secretary Ramli Mahmud cleared Khir by stating that it was him who had signed the deal, which was approved "a long time ago" under advice from the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry.

However Abdul Aziz said the fact that the deal by was signed by Ramli or had the approval of the ministry was not the issue here.

"That is not quite the issue for most of the deals are made, just like at the federal level, under the authority and permission of the government of the day," he explained.

Contracts can be rescinded Abdul Aziz said the legality of the deal hinged on the status of the state of government at the material time.

He argued that if the deal was made after the state assembly was dissolved then Khir did not have the power to authorise Ramli to sign the agreement on behalf of the state.

Abdul Aziz said this was because a caretaker government was there just to carry out the routines and not to make major decisions.

"Deals involving million of ringgits are certainly major, these are not routines administration, " he argued.

When asked as to what the new state governments should do now, Abdul Aziz said that if they were satisfied that the deals were illegal, they can just decline to honour the contracts and let the aggrieved companies bring them to court.

The constitutional law expert said that the issue of caretaker government was of extreme importance not only in relation to the issue of fairness of the election but also to the legality of business deals and other actions taken by the caretaker government.

Abdul Aziz said it was important for everybody in the government - right from the Yang di Pertuan Agong to the lowest rung of the public service to be aware of government status.

"It is important now that the civil servants know that they could not just carry out orders without checking their legality," Abdul Aziz said.

He also said that the business community should be aware of the status and avoid making any deals before the elections were over and a new government was put in place.

Abdul Aziz admitted that this would create difficulties but it has to be raised so that the matter would be clarified once and for all.

It is also important, Aziz said, that from now on the spending made by the government was made with the full authority of the taxpayers.

"It is also important that the civil servants be mindful of the law and not just to follow the order from the political masters," he added.

A precedent by the Federal Court
Abdul Aziz also noted that it was not the first time such irregularity took place in the Selangor.

He said in 1997, after the then menteri besar Muhammad Muhd Taib's resignation after he was caught with a huge amount of cash in Australia, the state exco members continued their business as usual.

Abdul Aziz said that was wrong as the exco members took collective responsibility with their menteri besar and a new government should have been appointed in its place.

"Unfortunately nobody seemed to be aware of the position and I wonder what the state legal advisor was doing at that time," he added.

Abdul Aziz said it was the duty of the civil servants to advise the politicians as to the law and procedure.

He however said that the law at present was pointing at a different direction as the Federal Court had ruled in 2001 that the caretaker government in 1969 was in a position to declare emergency proclamation.

"But I think the decision of the court under the leadership of former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz was wrong," he opined.

Abdul Aziz said given the limitation imposed on a caretaker government, such could not be right.

He noted that under the emergency proclamation made by the 1969 declaration, various laws, including those imposing death penalty, were made. Abdul Aziz said the present Federal Court has the power to depart from the decision handed by Ahmad Fairuz



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*****.*****

Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."

(Muttafaq 'alaih)

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