Ten of thousands jobs in the local energy sector will be at risk if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is allowed to go through with his latest efforts to save 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), an opposition lawmaker said today.
Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said that this was a possibility if Najib is allowed to abolish limits on how much equity foreign firms can have in Malaysian power producers.
Rafizi said that a rule stating that foreign firms can own no more than 49% equity in a power producer would be lifted to allow a China-Qatar consortium to buy over energy assets of debt-laden 1MDB.
The PKR vice-president added that by getting rid of equity ownership limits, big China companies would then be able to out-bid and out-compete local companies such as Tenaga Nasional Berhad for future independent power producer (IPP) contracts.
“It will lead to more Malaysian workers in the power sector losing their jobs to China nationals who are brought in by these big China companies.
“Allowing a foreign company to fully control electricity production operations for a major national power producer has great risk.
“Electricity supply could be disrupted if there are future problems and the increase in tariffs would be based on the interests of these foreign companies,”
Rafizi said in a statement today. Rafizi said that Najib has not responded to queries made seven days ago on whether he would lift these equity limits.
“As Najib does not want to clarify whether these limits would be preserved, I have no choice but to table an emergency motion in Parliament so that the issue can be debated on Tuesday.
“I will file the emergency motion on Monday,” Rafizi said.
In his statement a week ago, Rafizi alleged that Najib was planning to lift the equity limits to allow a bid for 1MDB’s power generating assets by the China-Qatar consortium.
The consortium is comprised of China General Nuclear Power Corp Ltd and Nebras Power QSC and is 100% owned by foreigners.
Rafizi said Najib would likely announce that China-Qatar consortium had won the bid even though it breached the foreign equity limit.
It was previously reported that the consortium is bidding for 1MDB’s power assets currently held by Edra Global Energy Berhad.
Rafizi said that the giant Chinese companies have different cost structures which are lower because they fully use the services, labour, contractors and suppliers from China.
“Once the companies are in Malaysia, they could pose a significant threat to local power companies and to the 40,000-odd individuals the sector currently employs.
“They represent 40,000 households in Malaysia who will have a large influence in the next general election. Their welfare and interests must be looked after and not just sidelined because 1MDB has pay off its debts.
“TI was told that TNB workers are having special prayers today all over the country due to these worrying developments.”
news source & image credits: themalaysianinsider.com