Finance minister reveals details of 101 direct award projects

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

FINANCE Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) yesterday revealed details of the 101 direct award projects approved during Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) 22 months in power, two days after he first made the disclosure in the Parliament.

The 16-page list featured programmes involving 20 ministries, ranging from broadcast rights for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup to textbook purchases for schools.

The Ministry of Transport topped the list in terms of value with total procurements worth RM4.48 billion, followed by the Ministry of Defence (RM900.86 million) and the Home Affairs Ministry (RM517.68 million).

By items procured, the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources was the highest with 13 projects, followed by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (12 projects) and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (nine projects).

The most expensive project involved upgrade works to the Klang Valley Double-track Phase 2 (KVDT2) awarded to Dhaya Maju LTAT Sdn Bhd, an 80:20 joint venture (JV) between privately-held construction company Dhaya Maju Infrastructure (Asia) Sdn Bhd and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT).

The cost of the contract was RM4.48 billion as announced in July last year. The JV company won back the deal 10 months after it was terminated by PH due to its high cost. The previous Barisan Nasional government awarded the contract to Dhaya Maju LTAT at RM5.27 billion.

The second-biggest item on the list was a contract extension for the supply of polycarbonate biodata pages used in Malaysian passports worth RM270.71 million awarded to Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd, a unit of Datasonic Group Bhd which is linked to Umno.

The third involved an in-support service contract worth RM222.87 million for the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s A400M military transport aircraft given to Airbus Military Sociedad Limitada in Spain.

The project with the smallest sum listed was for the book, A Better World Volume 5: Actions and Commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, worth RM21,022.86 attributed to the Economic Affairs Ministry. Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali was then in charge of the portfolio.

Tengku Zafrul issued the list after MPs from the previous PH government, including former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, demanded that he make public details on the directly awarded projects.

In his statement, he said the revelation was made on grounds of good governance and transparency. He noted that direct awards were permitted under the Financial Procedure Act 1957. The minister informed the Dewan Rakyat on Aug 24 that 101 projects were awarded through direct tender when PH was in power. His statement had caused an uproar in the chamber.

Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng, who was then finance minister, said the decision to give out tenders via direct negotiations was discussed by the Cabinet.

Lim said exceptions were made to award contracts directly for one-of-a-kind procurements, those made in times of crisis and if it involved public interest or national security.

*The article has been corrected for an error in paragraph 9.