PH only awarded RM352m direct nego contracts

Most of the projects were initiated by or a continuation inherited from the previous administration, Lim says

pic by TMR FILE

FORMER Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng clarified that only RM352 million worth of direct negotiation contracts were approved by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

Lim said most of the projects were initiated by or a continuation inherited from the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

He said this in refuting the list of 101 government projects worth RM6.61 billion revealed by his successor Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz on Wednesday evening.

“The remaining RM6.26 billion were projects that were initiated or continued from BN’s time that had to be continued by PH,” Lim said in a press conference at Parliament yesterday.

Lim also stated that the list by Tengku Zafrul included five projects worth RM4.48 billion that were carried out by the BN government before PH took over the federal government in May 2018.

Among them was the Klang Valley Double Track Phase 2 (KVDT2) project, which was offered to the company at a price tag of RM5.265 billion by BN through direct negotiation.

“When PH took over, we found the amount offered was too high so the Cabinet decided to cancel the contract,” Lim added.

However, he said the contractor company pleaded with the government and comprehensive negotiations were held.

“The PH government decided to continue with the project with a lower price of RM4.475 billion, saving some RM790 million.

“This avoided any legal tussle between the company and the government so the finance minister should give it up to PH as we save some money,” Lim explained.

According to him, 31 out of the 101 projects revealed worth RM1.753 billion were implemented during BN’s time and many were on services or supply-related contracts that needed certain expertise or were due to monopoly.

On the 2018 Fifa World Cup event, Lim said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry announced that the government would not bear the cost of RM29.9 million to air the game.

“The RM29.9 million paid for the broadcasting of the game was recouped through sponsors.

“Apart from that, Sports Media and Distributor Sdn Bhd held the intellectual property rights for the monopoly right to air the World Cup matches in Malaysia. That is why open tender could not be done in this situation,” Lim added.

Additionally, of the RM352 million in projects under PH, a bulk of it or RM170 million was allocated for solid waste management under the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

Its Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin issued a statement yesterday stating that she had no knowledge of the projects awarded through direct negotiations by her ministry under the previous administration.

Zuraida, who also held the same portfolio during PH’s tenure, said she was not aware of the deals and vowed to look into it.

Former Deputy International Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming (picture) also clarified that four of the direct negotiations listed by Tengku Zafrul include events that happened between January and March 2018, before the 14th General Election (GE14) in May 2018.

He urged Tengku Zafrul to clarify the matter and review the list of projects released.

“These four projects alone cost RM7.6 million and all of them took place before GE14 and they were listed under MITI’s list of direct negotiation projects during PH’s time in government.

“I was a bit shocked when the MITI’s list came out because I was never invited to any of these events supposedly organised during PH’s time. Now I know the real story,” he said.

According to the list, RM545,000 was spent on a Young CEO Summit (March 2018), RM5.9 million on Himpunan Usahawan Bumiputera (March 2018), RM999,000 on Jom Niaga Wilayah Utara (January 2018) and RM632,000 on MINI Satu Daerah Satu Industri (March 2018).