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12May94 MALAYSIA: BREAK ON MALAYSIAN BAN - THAMES WATER PLAYS DOWN REPORTS.

Malaysian news reports suggest the ban imposed by the government on trade with the UK could be breached by a multi-million pound water project with Thames Water.The company is playing down the reports, saying that it has signed no contract as yet, nor does it expect to get one in the near future.But Thames Water did confirm it had people on the ground in the region and that the water project in the Kelantan district did exist.The regional administration led by the opposition Pan Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) is understood to have looked into privatising the project after it failed to get a £20 million state loan from the federal government.If the scheme goes ahead as envisaged by the local news reports, Thames Water would be in joint venture with the state board on the project to supply water to the state's treatment plants. Although no dates have been set it is believed the project is expected to get off the ground in the near future.Malaysia imposed a ban on British companies after The Sunday Times published a story alleging the Malaysian prime minister had been offered a bribe from a Wimpey agent to secure a major contract. The prime minister has said trade will only resume when the UK press stops printing what he calls lies about his country. CONSTRUCTION NEWS