PUTRAJAYA: The RM1bil taken from China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Ltd (CPP) is for work that is not completed in a pipeline project which has since been scrapped, says the Prime Minister.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the company had received 80% of the project cost whereas work done was only 13%.
“Since the project was cancelled, we have the right to get back money for parts that were not implemented,” he said after chairing Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s supreme council meeting.
He also said that he did not feel what had occurred would affect relations with China.
“The thing is what was paid to them was not in tandem with the work done. I don’t see why the Chinese would feel unhappy.
“We are not taking money for work that has been done. Instead, it is work that was not done,” he said.
Last Saturday, it was reported that the authorities had seized more than RM1bil (US$243.25mil) from an HSBC bank account belonging to CPP.
The seizure came nearly a year after authorities suspended two pipeline projects, valued at US$2.3bil (RM9.45bil), for which CPP was the lead contractor.
Singapore’s The Straits Times, in quoting sources, reported that the Pakatan Harapan government had ordered HSBC to transfer the funds held in CPP’s account to Suria Strategic Energy Resources, which is wholly owned by the Finance Ministry.
CPP said it was perplexed by the unilateral transfer of funds out of its account without notification, while HSBC declined to comment on the matter, citing client confidentiality.
When asked whether the company was informed that Malaysia would be taking back the money, Dr Mahathir said the question should be reverted to Singapore authorities.
When asked who instructed for the seizure, he said: “I am responsible on the principle that when a contractor does not use the money given to them to construct the whole project, then the government is entitled to get back the money.”