Nothing documented on Najib’s claim that China had committed to importing goods worth US$2 trillion as part of the two pipeline agreements worth RM9.4 billion.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today hit back at ex-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s claims that China would import US$2 trillion worth of goods as there was nothing of that sort documented.
“All officials asked have stated that these claims by Datuk Seri Najib are untrue,” he said.
There was no mention of the various “commitments” made by China as alleged by Najib in any of the Cabinet papers presented in 2016 and 2017, which approved the Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd (SSER) projects, Lim said in a statement today.
“Unless of course that there are certain hidden Cabinet papers or “red” Cabinet minutes that no one has access to except the former Prime Minister himself,” he added.
Najib, who was also the former Finance Minister, issued a statement on June 5 defending his administration’s award of two petrochemical and gas pipeline projects worth RM9.4 billion to China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB) by SSER.
“Datuk Seri Najib deliberately did not focus on the principal questions surrounding RM9.4 billion pipeline scandal but instead focused on alleged purported benefits to the country from signing this RM9.4 billion contract,” the statement said.
Najib claimed that he and China’s Premier Li Keqiang had witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the pipeline projects along with other projects while in Beijing on May 14, 2017.
Allegedly, China had also committed to importing goods worth US$2 trillion from Malaysia over the next five years, invest up to US$150 billion in Malaysia, and offer 10,000 places for training and studies in various institutes in China as part of the pipeline deal.
“We have also discovered that for some reason, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) projects and the SSER projects were always presented together in the same Cabinet paper by Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Cabinet approval,” Lim revealed.
This, he said, raised red flags as the ECRL and the SSER projects were vastly different in nature and business, involving different companies, contractors and geography, even if they were financed by the same China EXIM Bank.
“Datuk Seri Najib has deliberately refused to respond to the principal question of this RM9.4 billion scandal as to why payment of RM8.3 billion, which is equivalent to 88 percent of the project value, was made even though only 13 percent of progressive work had been completed.
“Why did he permit such disbursement to be made within the first year of a 3-year contract?
“Eighty-eight percent of the funds had been disbursed despite the Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) and Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) projects recording only 14.5 percent and 11.4 percent progress completion, respectively, as at the end of March 2018, or an average of 13 percent,” Lim said, adding that the above completion rates have yet to be verified or audited.
To recap, the MPP involved a 600km multi-product petroleum pipeline connecting Melaka and Port Dickson to Jitra, costing RM5.35 billion.
The TSGP involved the building of a 662km gas pipeline from Kimanis Gas Terminal to Sandakan and Tawau, costing RM4.06 billion.