Contradicts Ministry of Finance’s statement.
The Pakatan Harapan government never approved changing the official fleet from local marque Proton Perdana 2.4L Premium to the imported Toyota Vellfire 2.5L when it was in power, former finance minister Lim Guan Eng said today.
Apart from cost consideration, Lim said the principle was to support local vehicles.
The DAP lawmaker urged the government to be transparent about the official vehicle rental contract, following the Ministry of Finance’s decision to lease a model known to be more expensive in the market.
“The Harapan government never approved, nor did it announce a switch of ministerial official cars from the Proton Perdana 2.4 Premium to Toyota Vellfire 2.5L.
“This contradicts the Finance Ministry’s recent statement that the proposal to replace the Proton Perdana with other vehicles such as the Vellfire was considered by the previous government but was postponed and only implemented this year,” he said in a statement.
Lim was the finance minister of the administration, which collapsed after a political power grab early in 2020.
The PH government had publicly stated on January 10, 2020, that it would keep Proton Perdana as the official car for federal ministers and senior government officials, in response to speculation that it would switch to the Toyota Vellfire.
Lim suggested the rumour spread as there had been talk that PH leaders had considered making the change after the firm supplying vehicles ran out of stock since production stopped in 2014.
The Toyota Vellfire was offered as an alternative then, he noted.
The Bagan MP described the model as “luxurious” in his statement that criticised his predecessor’s explanation.
News about the switch to the Vellfire has courted controversy, with critics of the government using the issue to accuse the Umno-led government of excess and wastage.
The Finance Ministry has defended the decision.
In a November 7 statement, the ministry said the new lease contract for the Toyota Vellfire 2.5L would result in reduced payments.
The Finance Ministry had said the lease on the Toyota Vellfire at RM4,851.61 was cheaper than Proton Perdana at RM,4854.41, an RM2.80 saving per vehicle.
It added that six years had passed even though ministerial vehicles were meant to be changed every four years.
The switch was made in April, when Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin was the prime minister.
Lim, citing Malaysian Car Rental Association president Farouk Fernandez, dismissed the explanation as “nonsense”. He demanded the MoF state publicly if the new rental contract was tendered openly.
Farouk had suggested the lease cost would have been higher.
“In the interest of accountability and transparency, the Finance Ministry should inform the public whether an open tender was conducted, and which company is managing the car leases for the federal government,” Lim said.