Ramkarpal: PM Wrong, Ministers Should Not Award Contracts

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Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is wrong in saying ministers have a right to give out contracts as this goes against Pakatan Harapan’s reform principles, said DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh today.

“It is clearly morally wrong for ministers to be giving out contracts, within or outside their respective jurisdictions.”

Ramkarpal, who is Bukit Gelugor MP, said in a statement that such a practice will create a perception of favouritism on the part of the said minister.

“The concept of open tenders is to encourage transparency in the bidding of contracts and to promote competitiveness amongst bidders to attract only those who perform the best.

Zainudin Ahad/The Star

“Needless to say, such tendering process is aimed at weeding out corruption as the awarding of government contracts cannot be left in the hands of a single person, let alone a minister.”

He was referring to Dr Mahathir’s remarks yesterday that ministers were allowed to hand out contracts as long as they are within their portfolios.

In recent days, MCA president Wee Ka Siong had accused Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Salahuddin Ayub of seeking to directly award a RM1.4 billion contract to National Farmers Organisation.

Ramkarpal said the prime minister’s statement can lead to ministers thinking they can award contracts as they like as long as it is in their area of jurisdiction.

“This is exactly what PH pledged to get rid of.

“The MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) should not be influenced by the prime minister’s statement and must strive to ensure all efforts are taken to investigate ministers suspected of abusing their positions by personally awarding contracts.”

He added that transparency in the awarding of contracts must be a priority in PH’s efforts for reform that cannot be compromised. – TMI