Works Ministry’s projects among those awarded via direct negotiation

These projects were not classified as ‘special circumstances’, but were part of the normal processes or requests instead, minister says

by AFIQ AZIZ/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

WORKS Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof has revealed that some of his ministry projects were obtained through direct negotiation during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

“There were some such projects (involving the ministry) under the PH government. Yes, I can confirm that,” he told reporters after the handing over and official opening of the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) upgrading project at the Taman Melati junction in Gombak, Selangor, yesterday.

No decision yet on the proposed takeover of the 4 highway concessionaires in the Klang Valley as it is still under discussion at the EPU, MoF and my ministry, Fadillah says

According to Fadillah, preliminary information obtained by the ministry showed that these projects were not classified under “special circumstances” but were part of the normal processes or requests.

“However, we are proceeding with some of the projects after seeing the basis for the projects,” he said, without disclosing the value of the project involved.

On Monday, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz revealed that 101 projects worth RM6.61 billion were awarded through direct negotiation by the previous administration.

Subsequently, former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng challenged the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and Tengku Zafrul to give a full list of the projects, by stressing that those projects were approved under “special circumstances” like crisis or natural disasters, or if they involved national security.

Lim also claimed that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other former PH ministers who were now in PN had asked for direct awards in the past.

On a separate note, Fadillah said the government has yet to decide on the proposed takeover of four highway concessionaires in the Klang Valley.

“It is still being discussed at the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Finance Ministry (MoF) and our ministry. The decision will be announced when it is made,” he said.

In June 2019, the MoF Inc announced a planned takeover of the four highway concessionaires for RM6.2 billion so that the government can replace the existing toll mechanism with a “congestion charge” model.

The four are Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd (Litrak), Kesas Sdn Bhd, Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat Holdings Sdn Bhd (Sprint) and Syarikat Mengurus Air Banjir Dan Terowong Sdn Bhd (Smart).

Additionally, Fadillah said the congestion at the entry and exit point from the East Coast would be alleviated via the upgrade of roads at MRR2 near the Taman Melati junction in Gombak.

He said the works to widen the road from three lanes to five lanes connecting MRR2 to Gombak toll would ease the journey to and fro the East Coast states.

Fadillah said currently nearly 200,000 users are using this route during long holidays and festivals — higher than the road capacity of between 80,000 and 120,000 cars.

The upgrade work also involves road access to the Gombak Integrated Transport Terminal in the area, which is scheduled for completion by April 2021.