Salahuddin on RM1.4B Tender: Let Authorities Probe ‘Sabotage’ Claim

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Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Salahuddin Ayub said he would leave it to authorities to investigate allegations of sabotage involving a senior official in his ministry.

This is pertaining a tender for fertilisers worth RM1.4 billion for paddy farming, but the minister said he is not the party responsible for providing a response to the allegation.

“I think I have already answered (the tender issue) in principle during my press conference in Penang. However, if there are external reactions besides that, we leave it to the relevant authorities to investigate or provide comment.

FMT

“I am not the right person to respond to what has happened after that,” he told reporters today after officiating the Kongres Benih Asia 2019.

Yesterday, news portal Free Malaysia Today quoted an unnamed Amanah leader claiming that the senior official’s alleged move to carry out the tender without Salahuddin’s knowledge amounted to an act of sabotage.

“When it went to a Chinese company, the National Farmers Organisation (Nafas) begged the finance and agriculture ministries to obtain the tender, because if they didn’t, it would affect Nafas as the principal association for farmers and has 900,000 members.

“The agriculture minister then wrote a letter to the prime minister to give the tender to Nafas.

“But till today, Nafas hasn’t received the tender offer letter,” she was quoted as saying.

Previously, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad claimed that ministry officials had been sabotaging Salahuddin by awarding and cancelling tenders without the latter’s knowledge.

Asked about the senior official’s absence at today’s event, Salahuddin said: “Ask the Public Service Department (PSD). I know nothing about that.”

Salahuddin, meanwhile, said any action taken against the senior official would have to come from the chief secretary of government.

“Ask the chief secretary. I am not responsible,” he said when asked if the official should be suspended.

He also slammed the opposition for attempting to play up the tender issue.

“That is their job now as the opposition. We have already explained what transpired is still within operating procedures.

“This is not a scandal. What’s scandalous is Tabung Haji, Felda Global Ventures, and 1MDB, where the money has gone into personal accounts or somebody’s accounts.

“What where has the RM1.4 billion gone? It is still in the treasury and we’re confident it would be disbursed to Nafas, that’s all. So, it’s not a scandal,” he said.

At a recent parliamentary debate, MCA president Wee Ka Siong reportedly claimed that three contracts worth over RM1 billion have been cancelled after the agriculture ministry decided to award the projects through direct negotiations.

Following Wee’s revelations, Salahuddin admitted he had written a letter of support to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, asking for Nafas to be given the RM1.4 billion tender even though the tender has yet to be finalised.