Guan Eng: Most of the 101 Direct Awards Were Negotiated During the BN Administration

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Zafrul lied by saying that it was PH who approved all RM6.61 billion worth of projects.

Getting the facts right:

  • Direct tenders awarded under PH only amounted to about RM352 million
  • PH only responsible for 0.07% of the directly awarded contracts during its 22 months in power
  • PH saved RM790 million of taxpayers’ money
  • PM and several other lawmakers who defected to PN had asked for direct-nego projects when they were part of PH
  • All of the direct-nego projects were approved in a cabinet meeting
  • On the RM352 million projects procured by the PH government, RM170 million or 48.3 percent was on a project under Zuraida, who claims she was unaware of the project
  • PH leaders have repeatedly pointed out that item 23 of its election manifesto pledged to conduct open tenders as widely as possible and never promised to do away with the practice, as it was needed in some specific circumstances

Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng today said most of the 101 direct awards supposedly approved under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration were negotiated during Barisan Nasional’s (BN) tenure in power.

Shafwan Zaidon

In a press conference at Parliament, he said based on the list provided by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz yesterday, the direct tenders awarded under PH only amounted to about RM352 million.

He said the remaining RM6.28 billion of the alleged RM6.61 billion were direct awards given under BN which PH was forced to continue or take over.

He stressed that Harapan was only responsible for a fraction (0.07 percent) of the directly awarded contracts during its 22 months in power, which were mostly due to reasons that could not be avoided.

The Bagan MP said 68 percent of the RM6.61 billion or RM4.49 billion was spent on five projects under the Transport Ministry and the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti).

He said the PH government had already saved RM790 million of taxpayers’ money since the original amount procured by the BN government through DN for the five projects was RM5.265 billion.

“Zafrul should be praising the Harapan administration because we saved RM790 million of taxpayers’ money,” he added.

The five projects are:

  1. Klang Valley Double Track Phase 2 upgrading project by Transport Ministry (RM4.475 billion);
  2. Rental service and construction of marquee tents and booths for SME entrepreneurs in conjunction with the Himpunan Usahawan Bumiputera programme by Miti (RM632,000)
  3. Jom Niaga Carnival (Northern Region) service provider by Miti (RM999,350)
  4. Procurement of supplies and services for the Young CEO Summit For Tubers by Miti (RM545,000)
  5. Procurement of supplies and services for the Himpunan Usahawan Bumiputera by Miti (RM5.99 million)

He also disclosed that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and several other lawmakers who defected to Perikatan Nasional had asked for direct-negotiation projects when they were part of PH.

“Muhyiddin when he was the home minister asked for RM517.7 million. Zuraida Kamaruddin (housing and local government minister) asked for RM170.8 million. Economic affairs minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, RM1.2 million and Datuk Seri Rina Harun when she was the minister of rural development asked for RM7.36 million.”

All of the direct negotiation projects, such as the double-tracking project, were approved in a cabinet meeting, he said.

Bernama

“Either the ministers who are now part of PN were asleep during the meeting or they were busy handling the Sheraton move,” the Bagan MP added.

On the RM352 million projects procured by the PH government, Lim said RM170 million or 48.3 percent of the total was spent on the building, operating and maintaining a new solid waste transfer station project in Taman Beringin, Jinjang Utara to replace the existing station.

This project, according to Lim, was led by the Housing and Local Government Ministry in which the minister was and is currently Zuraida Kamaruddin.

“So, if Zuraida said she was unaware of this project, it means she was either lying or she was sleeping on the job,” Lim said.

Lim said he found it rather “unusual” that Zuraida was not in the know and asked her to ask Zafrul.

Saifuddin Nasution, the former domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, said his ministry also carried out a campaign that cost RM160 million, and he was in the know about it.

On the World Cup FIFA 2018 broadcast rights which amounts to RM29.9 million, Lim said although RTM, which is under the government, paid the amount in advance to Sports Media and Distributor, the money was eventually returned to RTM by AirAsia and Maxis who were the sponsors.

When asked about the allocations approved for Azmin Ali’s then Economic Affairs Ministry, Lim merely said he had “trusted the wrong person.”

Apart from that, a RM70 million project was awarded to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to print textbooks for primary school students while RM2.98 million was spent to combat rabies in Sarawak.

On Monday, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Aziz told the Dewan Rakyat that PH had approved 101 projects through direct awards amounting to RM6.61 billion.

The next day, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said in a statement that it will investigate whether there were elements of corruption, irregularities or abuse of power involving the 101 projects.

PH MPs including former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad challenged Zafrul to reveal the list of projects since Monday and the latter eventually did so through a statement yesterday.

“It is now clear that Zafrul has lied by saying that it was PH who approved all RM6.61 billion worth of projects,” he said.

Kamal Ariffin/TMI

He maintained that Zafrul should be transparent in revealing any direct awards he had granted himself, apart from those granted under BN.

“Zafrul must prove that all direct tender projects he has approved meet the criteria and are of public interest,” Lim added.

Harapan’s critics have accused the coalition of reneging on its promise to only perform government procurements through open tender.

However, Harapan leaders have repeatedly pointed out that item 23 of its election manifesto pledged to conduct open tenders as widely as possible and never promised to do away with the practice, as it was needed in some specific circumstances.