PM also denies approving project.
- Claims of PH approving RM450 million project in Kota Bharu through direct negotiations
- Letter awarding project not signed by Lim but by official under MoF’s acquisitions department
- Lim to discuss with PM, who said he will check on the matter
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says he needs more time to study a letter supposedly issued by his ministry about an RM450 million project allegedly awarded through direct negotiation in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
“Was it (the letter) signed by me? Was it signed by me?” he asked after a reporter questioned him about the letter which was signed by an official under the acquisitions department of the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
After confirming that it was not signed by him, Lim said he needs to do an “assessment” first as the letter was not signed by him.
“Please lah, there are so many letters signed… You must let me do an assessment first.
“I think you are referring to what the prime minister said, isn’t it? So, can I discuss with my prime minister first?
“It is not right for me not to discuss with the prime minister first before talking to you,” he said.
When pressed about the issue further, as the letter bore the MoF letterhead, Lim insisted that he did not sign it.
“But it is not signed by me. How many letters are signed by me? And by other officials?
“So, if it was signed by me, at least there is some basis.
“(If it was) signed by so many other officials, you know how many staff are there in the Finance Ministry?
“Please be reasonable. So, let me discuss this and also, secondly, discuss with my prime minister first,” he said.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said he will check on claims that the Pakatan Harapan government approved an RM450 million project in Kota Bharu through direct negotiations as he was not aware of such a thing.
“I don’t know, I never approved anything, but I have to check on this,” he said.
The letter, purportedly from the MoF dated July 26, 2019, claimed that the prime minister had written a letter on July 9 about approving the project through direct negotiation.
One of Pakatan Harapan’s election promise was to do away with direct tenders.
The July 26 letter, which has gone viral on social media, said the MoF had allegedly agreed to a particular company being appointed through direct negotiation for the construction of a federal building in Tunjong, Kota Bharu, costing RM450 million.
“Maybe they have already been awarded the project before this. We found that when Pakatan Harapan took over the government, we stopped all contracts, giving rise to problems because many workers had no jobs; contractors suffered losses.
“This is because we stopped the projects for too long, more than year. We should have stopped the projects only to study ones can be continued and ones that must be re-tendered.
“I don’t know which case this involves,” the prime minister added.