KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need to have an acting Prime Minister in the absence of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who will be overseas for a few days.
Najib said it was a rather unusual situation but added that this showed the country was stable. He said normally at least one of them would remain in the country at any one time.
However, he said it was unavoidable as he had to attend the 16th Apec Economic Leaders meeting in Lima, Peru, at the same time when Abdullah is on an official visit to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Najib leaves for Tuesday night while Abdullah is expected to return on Friday.
“In any case we will be in close communication with the people here as well as with the Prime Minister so if anything happens we can relay instructions,”Â he said on the matter.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang had raised this question when he said that for at least two days both leaders would be away and he asked why this standing rule had been broken.
“I think it will be all right,”Â Najib said and added light-heartedly, “It is the mark of a stable nation”Â.
On the Apec meeting he said one session would give the leaders an opportunity to discuss the current global financial crisis and come up with collective action to counter the crisis quickly.
The second session would involve a discussion on issues such as food security and the environment.
On the Selangor state government taking over Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), he said the Federal Government was still discussing with Selangor and would come out with an announcement by the end of the year or early next year.
“We have a formula to work it out,”Â he said on whether the move by Selangor would create issues relating to operations cost.
Earlier in his speech, Najib said the development of water supply and sewerage facilities under the Ninth Malaysia Plan would still progress as there was a dire need to improve the rural and urban water systems for the people.
“The Government will implement the Public Private Partnership concept to enhance the economic activities, thus creating more employment opportunities in particular. We would not want to see unemployment on the rise during this challenging phase,”Â he said.
He said that with the two new acts – the Water Services Industry Act and the National Water Services Commission Act – the Federal Government foresees that with the restructuring of the industry, reputable water companies would spearhead the industry and provide world-class water services.
Najib also said ‘sustainable sanitation’Â was more appropriate than ‘conventional sanitation’Â which was ‘costly, too extensive as a system, using a lot of water and only appropriate for water-and-money-rich developed countries’Â.
He said ‘sustainable sanitation’Â meant providing, supporting, encouraging and managing systems to meet the needs of the present and future generations, and was more appropriate and relevant in realising the Millennium Development Goals for Water and Sanitation by 2015.
Source : The Star