PETALING JAYA, July 5 ― A shareholder group backing the RM33.4 million pay packet for Puncak Niaga chairman Tan Sri Rozali Ismail was hastily convened to help vested parties cash out ahead of Selangor’s looming takeover of the state’s water utility, the DAP’s Tony Pua (picture) suggested today.
Continuing his criticism of the unusual remuneration for Rozali, Pua expressed shock over the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group’s open support and justification for the deal that has been described as a golden handshake for the Selangor Umno treasurer.
“Was the Puncak Niaga Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group joking when they claimed its executive chairman Tan Sri Rozali Ismail fully deserved the RM33.4 million in fees despite the company’s losses in recent years?” Pua asked in a statement.
The DAP national publicity secretary noted that remarks by Muhammad Imran Abdullah, the chair of the week-old shareholder group, failed to justify why Rozali was paid the inordinate amount but merely said: “We are only concerned with our dividends and returns.”
Imran elaborated further on the matter, however, in The Malay Mail.
“You must understand, this man is the founder of the company which started 20 years ago. For all his contributions, the shareholders have agreed to the payment,” Imran explained.
Pua said the group did not appear aware that Puncak Niaga’s books continue to be splashed with red ink, pointing out that even the RM233 million in profit it booked in 2012 was contingent on RM1.02 billion in “water tariff compensation” from the Selangor government that was now being disputed in court.
“This compensation is never agreed to by the state government because PNHB and its subsidiary, Syabas has failed to fulfil its obligations under the water concession agreement.
“Without the compensation payment, PNHB would have made massive losses of up to RM791 million,” Pua explained.
The PJ Utara MP said that there was no logical reason for Rozali’s pay package, which Pua had yesterday revealed to be nearly five times the pay of Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) chief executive despite Puncak Niaga generating just 6 per cent of the latter firm’s revenue.
“As a comparison, the remuneration package of the chief executive officer of Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), the country’s biggest utility, is only RM7 million. For the financial year 2012, TNB recorded revenue of RM35.85 billion compared to only RM2.5 billion of Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd,” Pua said yesterday.
The second-term federal lawmaker today repeated his suspicions that Rozali and other major shareholders of Puncak Niaga were cashing out before the Selangor government gets the green light to buy out the water concessions from existing holders.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said on June 26 that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had written to him expressing an openness to engage the state on its intended water utility buyout, which the former took as implied consent to proceed.
On Wednesday, Pua’s DAP colleague and Klang MP Charles Santiago had laid into Puncak Niaga for the RM33.4 million pay packet to Rozali, attacking the firm for rewarding “incompetence” and alleging that cronyism was involved in the approval.
Santiago pointed out that chairman of Puncak Niaga’s remuneration committee, Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak, was also an Umno member who sits on the international affairs bureau of the Umno supreme council, while former MCA secretary-general Dr Ting Chew Peh was also on the same committee.
Both Santiago and Pua have since called for the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) to determine if public funds were being used to reward the politically-connected Puncak Niaga chairman or abused to “bail out” the firm.