PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) has downplayed allegations of a RM9.4bil gas pipeline projects scandal raised by Lim Guan Eng, stressing that all laws and relevant procedures were complied with during negotiations and the execution stage.
The former prime minister was responding to the Finance Minister, who revealed that the Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) and the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) projects totalling RM9.4bil, was "kept hidden" under the red files from most officials in the Treasury.
Najib said that he and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of the RM9.4bil project during his visit to Beijing on May 14 last year.
"The two pipeline projects which will be of much economic and energy security benefits to Malaysia were negotiated on a government-to-government basis with the People's Republic of China," he said in a Facebook posting on Tuesday (June 5).
During the signing of the MOU, Najib said China had also committed to importing goods worth US$2 trillion (RM7.969 trillion) over the next five years from Malaysia, investing up to US$150bil (RM597bil) in Malaysian and to offer 10,000 places for training and studies in various institutes in China.
"Not forgetting the commitment by China that assisted our oil palm smallholders and contributed to their income and welfare through the purchase of more oil palm," he added.
Meanwhile, Najib cautioned Lim from making politically-motivated allegations, as it may adversely impact foreign relations and trade involving Malaysia.
A similar stance was taken by former finance ministry communications director Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, who said Lim should furnish more details to back his allegations.
Earlier, Lim, during a press conference, raised suspicion over the project as 88% of the RM9.4bil project had already been paid to the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB) despite only 13% completion of the of work.
Lokman pointed out that the CPPB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the China government-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which was listed as number four in the 2017 Fortune 500 global companies with revenues of US$263bil (RM1.048 trillion) last year.
Lokman added that further checks showed CPPB was one of the top pipeline builders in the world and had completed more than 10,000km of pipelines.
"Given their strength and track record, is Lim alleging that the CPPB or CNPC may not complete the two projects on-time after receiving this payments?" he asked.
Lokman said that it was not unusual for construction projects to have differing payment schedules and construction milestones.
"This could be due to the government-to-government negotiations related to the soft loan given by the China government.
"Perhaps the Finance Ministry can disclose the entire agreement for the public to examine why the payment milestones were structured this way?" he said.
Lokman said that Lim's revelation of an alleged scandal as damaging, as it is implied that the Chinese government had colluded with the Malaysian government in corrupt practices.
"This can only be negative for our diplomatic and trading relations… If there is wrongdoing, let the relevant authorities investigate first.
"The Pakatan Harapan government should stop making political allegations via press conferences in their attempt to continue bad-mouthing the previous Barisan Nasional government," he added.
MoF reveals RM9.4bil gas pipeline scandal