Umno leaders have joined the call for the Finance Ministry to make public the 101 direct negotiation projects awarded under the Pakatan Harapan government.
Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz said it is only right for the ministry to do this after its minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz raised the matter in Parliament.
“I think it’s only proper and right that once this thing is mentioned in Parliament, then we should reveal what the projects are. The public has a right to know.
“To me, yes, the Finance Ministry must reveal the details regardless of the effect it has on anybody whether in the government or outside the government,” Nazri was quoted as saying.
On Monday, Zafrul told Parliament that 101 projects worth RM6.61 billion in total were approved by the Finance Ministry through direct negotiations under the former Harapan administration.
This prompted calls for Zafrul to reveal details on the matter, including from former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former finance minister Lim Guan Eng.
Lim claimed that the list would expose some of the current Perikatan Nasional leaders, including Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who had pushed for those direct-award contracts in the past.
Meanwhile, Umno supreme council member Razlan Rafii also said that revealing the projects would be in the interest of transparency.
“For the sake of transparency and proving that Perikatan Nasional is not conspiring with Harapan’s wrongdoings, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin must reveal the list of the 101 projects as well as the title of works awarded,” he was quoted as saying.
Razlan believed that some of the contracts awarded did not meet the necessary criteria for direct negotiations.
Meanwhile, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition has proposed a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation of all directly-negotiated contracts spanning every administration from Barisan Nasional to the current Perikatan Nasional.
Lim Guan Eng said he welcomes MACC’s statement that it will investigate all 101 direct award projects approved by the finance ministry during PH’s time, but it must be done fairly and professionally.
“The MACC should also do a similar study on direct projects awarded by BN and even the current Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to ensure there is no element of corruption.
“Give a full disclosure. Don’t hide, don’t cover up and don’t run. Surely you have nothing to hide. The public has the right to hear the full information on this,” he told a press conference at the Parliament building today.
Dr Mahathir noted in a statement that the PH government had made allowances for direct negotiations when necessary, yet Zafrul implied that there was cause for suspicion simply because this method was used.
Today, Lim reiterated that PH did not expressly forbid direct negotiations but set guidelines for when it may be used, such as in matters of crisis, national disasters, national and security interests, as well as when there was only one possible vendor.
“In other words, open tender is the base procurement method, but exemptions can be given (for specific cases).
“That is why the percentage of direct negotiation worth RM6.6 billion is only 1.4 percent out of the total government procurement approved under the PH government,” he said.
DAP’s Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said time was running out for Zafrul to disclose the full list of contracts the latter asserted in Parliament were directly awarded.
“Tomorrow will be the last for him (Zafrul) to reveal the list. It seems like PH is more interested than PN to know what the list contains.
“Don’t politicise this kind of issues as it involves government procurements,” he said.
Earlier today, Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof acknowledged that his ministry was among beneficiaries of procurement contracts awarded through direct negotiations by the previous government.
However, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin rejected claims that her ministry had applied for contracts via direct negotiation.
Yesterday, former federal territories minister Khalid Samad questioned the timing of Tengku Zafrul revealing such information, adding that it seems highly likely that the projects were being used as a political tool.
“The Slim by-election is soon and the timing of (Zafrul raising) the issue is very curious. It seems that they (BN leaders) want to tell Slim voters that we (PH leaders) were as bad as they were since they clearly cannot deny that they were bad,” he said.