PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) has questioned the Finance Ministry on whether a RM450mil project was awarded through direct negotiation in Tunjong, Kelantan, following a letter that went viral on social media.
The MCA president said such a practice, should the letter be genuine, was in contrast to Pakatan Harapan’s election promise to adopt open tendering “extensively and transparently".
“Wasn’t it Pakatan that stressed they want to use open tender for all major projects during the last general election?
“Is a RM450mil project not big enough?” he wrote in a Facebook post Monday (Sept 16).
Taking a swipe at Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Dr Wee said it was peculiar for the ministry to suddenly approve the project to construct a shared building (bangunan gunasama) through direct negotiation.
“What's more peculiar is the company that was awarded the project - it is based in Kuala Lumpur and not in Kelantan," he said.
Dr Wee was commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Sunday (Sept 15) night statement that he would look into the allegation of an approval letter bearing the ministry’s letterhead for a direct negotiation for the project.
He said he has never approved any new direct negotiations since taking over Putrajaya last year.
However, he said that it was possible that the purported direct negotiation for the project was agreed during the previous Barisan Nasional’s administration.
Dr Wee, who is Ayer Hitam MP, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah had on Oct 30 last year confirmed in his ministerial reply in Parliament that direct negotiation remained as an option despite election promise.
“This is in contrast to Pakatan Harapan's promise in its election manifesto, which stated that open tendering would be used 'extensively and transparently', ” he said, further questioning Lim’s change in his stance.
Dr Wee also asked if there were more such projects and letters that were not known to the people and if this allegation warrants an investigation from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
The letter, dated July 26, was said to be faxed to a senior officer in the Prime Minister’s Department, claiming it was referring to a letter sent by the prime minister on July 9.
The letter claimed that the Finance Minister had agreed for a company to be appointed through direct negotiation to construct a "Bangunan Gunasama Persekutuan Kota Baru” with the price of RM450mil.
An officer from the government’s Procurement section signed the letter.
In response, Malay Mail reported that Lim had denied signing the letter and added he will discuss the matter with Dr Mahathir first.