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Friday August 6, 2010

MACC probes purchase of Electric Multiple Units

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has started investigations into the purchase of 38 electric trains, allegedly overpriced by half a billion ringgit, from a company in China.

The investigations began several days ago after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) handed a report to the MACC over the purchase of the six-car Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd for more than RM1.6bil.

The price had escalated to RM48mil per six-car train from the original cost of RM13.7mil per three-car train.

A tender was negotiated last November following the Government’s decision to improve public transportation under the National Key Results Areas initiative for urban transportation.

MACC director of investigations Mustapa Ali said

his officers had started making inquiries into the case but declined to elaborate.

Sources close to the MACC said the team started the investigation last week and had obtained several documents related to the purchase.

They said several witnesses including top executives, ministry officials, those involved in the negotiations as well as the supplier would be questioned.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, who took over the ministry two months ago, said he welcomed investigations into any project under the ministry.

“I hope the investigation will be done transparently so that the public will have answers to all questions raised,” he said.

Kong welcomed the MACC’s decision to investigate all projects implemented by the ministry. and not just selected projects.

“The ministry will cooperate with all parties in investigations into projects under the ministry,” he said.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said the committee had met on July 27 and discussed the issue raised by PAS MP Dzulkefly Ahmad during the 10th Malaysia Plan debate in the March parliamentary sitting.

Azmi said the PAC recommended that an investigation be conducted into the purchase of the EMUs from railway manufacturer, Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co Ltd of China.

He stated that the formal request to MACC was made through a letter last week and a copy of the MP’s speech in Parliament was attached.

Dzulkefly had questioned the purchase of the trains using the direct negotiation method, saying an investigation should be conducted as the price was exorbitant and that there were irregularities in the pricing.

He indicated that even if the six-car train cost twice as much as the three-car set, the price should only come to, at most, RM35mil each.

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