Wee: Why was direct negotiation allowed?

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 17 Sep 2019

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) has questioned the Finance Ministry whether a RM450mil project in Tunjong, Kelantan, was awarded through direct negotiation as according to a letter that went viral on social media.

The MCA president said such practice was in contrast to Pakatan Harapan’s election promise to adopt open tendering “extensively and transparently”.

“Wasn’t it Pakatan that stressed they wanted to use open tender for all major projects during the last general election?

“Is a RM450mil project not big enough?” he wrote on Facebook yesterday.

Aiming 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 and what more, to a company based in Kuala Lumpur and not in Kelantan.

Dr Wee was commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Sunday 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 had never approved any new direct negotiation since taking over Putrajaya last year.

However, he said it was possible that the purported direct negotiation for the project was agreed during Barisan Nasional rule.

Dr Wee, who is Ayer Hitam MP, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah had on Oct 30 last year confirmed in his reply in Parliament that direct negotiation remained an option despite Pakatan’s election promise.

“He said the government would not rule out direct negotiation for government procurement.

“This is in contrast to Pakatan’s promise in its election manifesto, which states that open tendering will be used ‘extensively and transparently’, ” he said.

The letter, dated July 26,2019, was said to have been 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 also claimed that the Finance Minister had agreed for a company to be appointed through direct negotiation to construct a “Bangunan Gunasama Persekutuan Kota Baru” for the price of RM450mil.

An officer from the government’s procurement section allegedly signed the letter.

A news portal reported that Lim had denied signing the letter and that Lim would discuss the matter with Dr Mahathir.

Reacting to Lim’s comments in the report, Dr Wee wrote on Facebook that if Lim was not aware of the letter that was signed by a high-level official in his ministry, he should lodge a report with the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

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