IWK Sends Goons To Collect Debt It Cannot Prove

The IWK general manager (communications), Mr Ishak Nengah, warns "customers" that they must ensure that the strong armed debt collectors IWK sends out are their goons, and not some free lance. It is right, he says, for "customers" to fear that they may not be genuine. "Customers have the right to ask for the letter and if it is signed by [IWK general manager (customer relations)] N. Jothesvaran," he says. Mr Jothesvaran's signature is, you understand, so well known that every housewife knows whether the scribble on the authorisation letter is his or not!

But when IWK sends out debt collectors, the onus is on it to prove that in law a debt exists and which it could not collect despite several attempts. This it cannot. It does not send bills. I received three, in three different names, a few years ago, and none since. Why? When it does not send bills or collect its dues, sending debt collectors is unacceptable harassment. A "customer" can sue it for harassment and other legal remedies. As any first year law student would tell you, for a contract to be valid there must be an offer and an acceptance. In the majority of IWK "customers" there is no acceptance, and therefore no contract.

Without a written contract, in other words, there is nothing IWK can do. I would demand, if its goons turn up at my house, for a contract I signed with IWK before I would pay. I would not care about telephoning IWK or searching their website. I owe them nothing, so why should I check with its website? I would call the police and my lawyer instead. IWK breaks the law when it sends debt collector goons to frighten its "customers" at their homes into paying money IWK deems the "customers" owe, but cannot prove the debt.

IWK is in its present predicament when sewage works were taken over from the municipalities and handed over on a silver plate to that international business man of unquestioned repute, one Tan Sri Dato' Seri Vincent Tan. He messed it up, and it changed hands a few times before it landed in the domain of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated. But its bully tactics have not changed. IWK works on the basis that customers owe it money because it has taken over municipal functions from the municipalities, and by taking over the functions, it has municipal powers. It does not, pure and simple.

M.G.G. Pillai pillai@mgg.pc.my