GEORGE TOWN: The contract worth RM1.4bil for padi subsidies and imports is not finalised yet, says Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (pic).
He said as long as the Finance Ministry has not given the final approval, it was still ongoing.
The minister also admitted writing to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad asking for the RM1.4bil contract to be given to the National Farmers Organisation (Nafas).
“What I did with Nafas was according to the rules.
“There is no evidence that proves what YB Ayer Hitam claimed, ” he said at a press conference after launching the 125th anniversary celebration of the Fisheries Department at Fisheries Research Institute Malaysia in Batu Maung yesterday.
Salahuddin was responding to Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong’s revelation while debating Budget 2020 in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday that the RM1.4bil contract was awarded to Nafas via direct negotiation instead of an open tender.
“Nafas is not an ordinary organisation.
“With the allocation, Nafas will give dividends and take care of the 920,000 poor farmers. Nafas is governed by the ministry. So please do not say the project is for our own good, ” he said, adding that Nafas took part in the open tender.
Salahuddin’s deputy Sim Tze Tzin, who was at the press conference too, said the open tender process was still ongoing.
He insisted the contract was not cancelled and that he and Salahuddin were not involved in the process.