PM: Govt saves nearly RM2b in flood mitigation projects after cancelling direct nego

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said his government was able to save close to RM2 billion in public funds after stopping the award of direct negotiations for flood mitigation projects initiated by his predecessor.

Anwar who is also finance minister was tabling a RM107.7 billion Mini Budget 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat, the first sitting following the polarising 15th general election, to ensure civil servants would be paid their emolutions so as to keep the government running next year.

Explaining his reason for cancelling the direct negotiation awards, he said some of the projects were not “urgent”, being scheduled to complete only in 2027.

Bernama

“There are some which will take up to 10 years, so there is no urgent need for a direct negotiation,” he said.

He cited special aid for several districts in Kelantan, such as Pasir Putih and Pasir Mas, which is due to complete between 2025 and 2027.

He further said that officials from the Finance Ministry had previously briefed him about the amount of savings to the government and the minimum was RM1 billion if the contracts were awarded differently.

“So, try to understand YBs why I am so adamant on this. From RM1 billion we can save almost RM2 billion because we stopped the practice of direct negotiations,” he said.

He said that close scrutiny of the direct negotiation deals showed that some of the contracts had been awarded to families and friends, which raised the possibility of nepotism and cronyism.

“So, on questions of being clean and all, nothing is clean. A lot is dirty too,” he added, seemingly making a gibe at the Opposition Perikatan Nasional coalition’s motto, which was caring, clean and stable.

Anwar said that from the RM15 billion approved for the flood mitigation projects, RM13.8 billion had been for deals made through direct negotiations but had yet to be executed by the Finance Ministry.

Anwar had previously ordered the Finance Ministry to pause channelling funds for RM7 billion out of the RM15 billion flood mitigation projects announced by the previous Ismail Sabri administration.

He said the suspension order was so a full review of contracts that had been awarded through direct negotiations could be examined for possible procedural breaches. – MMO