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MGG: IWK Engages Debt Collectors
By M.G.G. Pillai
27/6/2001 11:46 pm Wed
[IWK meragam lagi, kali ini ia mengambil khidmat syarikat pengutip
hutang untuk mengejar hutang dari pengguna. Tetapi ia tidakpun mengikat
apa-apa kontrek dengan isi-rumah untuk khidmat pembentungannya. Sekarang
ia mengugut mahu memotong bekalan air jika bil itu tidak dijelaskan.
Menurut NST, IWK dibawah pengurusan yang baru mahu mengutip sejumlah
RM260juta yang 'dihutang' oleh penggunanya sedangfkan tiada bukti
bertulis atau kontrek yang mengizinkan ia berhak mengutipnya.
IWK perlu memberi sebab mengapa rakyat perlu membayarnya sedangkan
tiada kontrek antara ia dengan pengguna. Sepatutnya cukai pintu
dikurangkan barulah langkah IWK itu boleh diterima. Projek penswastaan
telah membebankan pengguna sedangkan perkhidmatannya tidaklah sehebat
mana. Amat jarang kita menyaksikan kenderaan dan kakitangan IWK
bersimpang-siur di mana-mana. Malah bilnya lebih kerap muncul dari
kakitangannya. Ini mesti ada sesuatu yang tidak kena.
Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK), once in the empire of that
internationally known business man of unquestioned repute, one
Tan Sri Vincent Tan, is in the news again. It goes without
saying that what was once in the great man's domain would no
longer be in it, unless it is a fast food restaurant like
McDonalds and other cash cows. His empire is on course for
protection under the Companies Act. It might be earlier than you
IWK was handed down, like an unwanted child, to successive
business men who could not turn into the black for two reasons:
the price they paid for it was too high and virtually
unrecoverable, and IWK assumed that it assumed municipal powers
when it acquired privatised municipal services. IWK is yet
another privatisation that failed, was not meant to succeed, and
has now returned into the Ministry of Finance Incorporated.
IWK signed no contracts with householders from whom they
demand payment for sewage services. It used thuggish methods to
force people to pay, threatening to cut off water supply if
sewage bills were unpaid, issuing bills to non-existent
residents, and refusing to explain how the charges were arrived
at. We still do not know.
So, it is with surprise I learn today -- from the New
Straits Times (26 June 01, p5) -- that IWK under new (government)
management engages debt collectors to recover RM260 million
"owed". From July 1, you are going to be dunned for not paying
what you do not owe but IWK insists you do. I have been sent
bills in three names, none of which mine, but the sum due are
added on to the next. I asked them to show me a contract with
IWK for the service it provides. They have yet to.
The IWK customer service, under its previous owners, was
there to tell you perdition awaits if you did not pay. If the
government orders you to pay, you have no choice but to. There
is no need for a contract. When you went higher, you got more
convoluted arguments and shorter tempers, and given a lesson in
civic consciousness, nationalism and a civic lession in the
coming shortage of fresh water. How all this had to do with why
I should bills for a service I did not ask for escaped me. But
it was easier talking to a brick wall. But they would not tell
you why it does not have a contract with me, as I have with the
Tenaga Nasional, Telekom Malaysia, Maxis and other service
The IWK chief executive officer, Mr Suhaimi Kamaralzaman,
says IWK would have a nationwide campaign on the importance of
sewage ... "to stress on how an improper sewage system will
affect citizens ... by way of polluting water sources". He would
also ask customers to settle their sewage bills. How does he
have customers if they have not agreed to be his customers? How
did he get them?
I am an IWK customer only if I want to be. Mr Suhaimi
cannot insist I am when I am not. If I have an agreement with
IWK, fine. If I do not, how do I owe IWK money, even if some
cabinet minister or government decide I do? IWK still has not
explained why I, and millions of others, must pay it when it does
not have a contract with them. Caveat Emptor is still the rule.
If you have signed no contract with IWK, you do not owe it
anything, whatever it might say. If debt collector harass you,
go to the police stations and file a report.