Azmin: We’ll look into Chinese projects thoroughly

KUALA LUMPUR: Major Chinese projects in the country will be scrutinised following allegations these deals were used to bail out troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

Although not privy to the report which detailed the allegations, Azmin said the government would look into how these deals were inked to ensure transparency and accountability.

“The government will ensure the whole process is transparent. If anyone is responsible for any wrongdoing, then actions will be taken,” he said.

In Putrajaya, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government would investigate the allegations including claims senior Chinese leaders had offered to bail out 1MDB.

“I don’t want to say yes or no for now, I have to check records. If there is anything that explicitly state this in black and white, we will pursue the case,” he said to reporters after presenting a cheque for RM25mil to assist registered Islamic religious schools.

Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin took to Twitter to respond to the allegation saying the Cabinet under the previous government was in the dark over the matter.

He said the allegations needed to be investigated thoroughly.

“As a former Cabinet member, I can categorically state that Cabinet was never informed that the China deals were linked to bailing out 1MDB. If there is evidence of that happening, it was without Cabinet approval,” he said.

In July last year, the government suspended all contracts related to the China-linked multi-product pipeline (MPP), the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) projects.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that Malaysia could not afford to continue with the RM55bil ECRL project and the RM9.8bil TSGP projects.

Saying that he was interested to get a copy of the minutes cited by the Journal, Lim also acknowledged the cost for these projects had been inflated.

“You look at the Sabah pipeline project. How can RM8.3bil, which represents 88% of the entire project cost be paid out when only 10% of the work is done? Something is wrong there and you don’t have to be an accountant or a lawyer to know that,” he said.