A war of words ensued between Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and his predecessor Anthony Loke (PH-Seremban) during the winding-up of the 2021 Budget for the ministry at the Dewan Rakyat.
Wee, who was clarifying the Klang Valley Double-track Project phase 2 (KVDT2), said the government decided to reopen tenders as the original contractor was appointed through direct negotiation.
The decision effectively dismissed Dhaya Maju Infrastructure (Asia) Sdn Bhd (DMIA) and its partner Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) (Dhaya Maju LTAT Sdn Bhd) as the project contractor.
Wee said KTM Bhd had also raised its concerns over Dhaya Maju-LTAT’s competency to carry out works on KVDT2, based on its observation on the first phase carried out by the company.
He said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki in his letter had said the procurement process for the project was not done in accordance to procedure.
Loke blew his top at this point, saying that the project was approved during the tenure of Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, when Wee was also in the Cabinet at the time (minister in the prime minister’s department).
“You are lying. We only made the decision to carry on to avoid legal and financial implications on the government. You are only confusing the Dewan (Rakyat),” said Loke.
To this, Wee said: “Why are you jumping? If I’m found to be lying, I will resign.”
He said he would present the necessary documents as proof if challenged in court.
“You (Loke) had 15 minutes to attack me (during debate) while I was lying on a hospital bed; it is our right to explain what actually happened.
“I will definitely take legal action to clear my name. Stop being a spokesman for the company (DMLTAT) and respect the court’s decision,” said Wee, to which Loke said he was a spokesman for the people.
Wee said he stood by the decision made by the Cabinet, saying any company to be awarded through open tender must cooperate with LTAT to carry out the project.
Loke had previously questioned the government’s motive for cancelling the contract with Dhaya Maju-LTAT, saying that the government would have to fork out RM1 billion in settlements to the company.
It was reported Dhaya Maju–LTAT received the original Letter of Award (LoA) dated April 4, 2018 for the KVDT2 project during the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration and had commenced work.
The original KVDT2 award was, however, terminated on Oct 19, 2018 by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
However, on July 5, 2009, the PH government agreed to reappoint the Dhaya Maju-LTAT to implement the KVDT2 project after taking into consideration the legal implications.
They had entered into a Settlement Agreement under which the government agreed to issue a new LoA, with Dhaya Maju-LTAT waived all its claims against the government for the wrongful termination.
The High Court had on Sept 18 dismissed an application by Dhaya Maju LTAT for an injunction against the government and Wee to bar them from terminating a contract with the company for the construction of the KVDT2, despite having completed 24 percent of the project. – NST