Solar hybrid project never in any Education Ministry plan, witness tells court

  • Nation
  • Monday, 17 Feb 2020

Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The solar hybrid project was never in the development plans of the Education Ministry, the High Court heard on Monday (Feb 17).

Former education ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad (pic), who is the sixth prosecution witness in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's corruption trial here, said they would not have approved the solar hybrid project application if not for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's minutes on June 7,2016.

She said this was because Jepak did not give a breakdown of the costing, details of its work scope as well as not having a certified consultant appointed by the company for the project.

Dr Madinah added that there was no urgent need by the Education Ministry to speed up the contractual process of the solar hybrid project.

"This solar hybrid project was never in the development plans of the Education Ministry before this.

"The Education Ministry plans to supply electricity were through the diesel genset project and by connecting to the electrical grid lines," she said as she read her witness statement.

Dr Madinah also said that the solar hybrid project proposed by Jepak Holdings was a high-risk project and should be implemented with care.

The court also heard that Dr Madinah was baffled why Najib wanted to implement the solar hybrid project in a hurry when it did not have thorough planning.

Dr Madinah testified that while working under Najib's leadership, she found him to be a visionary, forward-looking leader, and smart.

"Najib was always mindful about the costs and needs for the execution of any project.

"He always reminded all the secretaries-general to ensure that all applications for the projects were 'cangkul ready'.

"This means, among others, the allocation that has been provided, the planning that was made, and the project was ready to be executed," she told the court.

However, Dr Madinah said she did not know why Najib released additional directives to implement the solar hybrid project that involved such a high cost, big scale, and high risk to be done in a hurry without detailed planning and thorough research or even have a discussion with the Education Ministry first.

The court also heard that former education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid had complained to Dr Madinah on the pressure that he faced from Najib.

Dr Madinah said Mahdzir had complained that Najib was upset that the solar hybrid project seemed like it was delayed.

"Mahdzir once told me to just pass the direct negotiation application directly to Najib for his approval as the Finance Minister," she said.

Dr Madinah added that the minutes by Najib on Dec 1,2015, to June 7,2016, had also pressured Mahdzir including the financial implications and legal problems that the Education Ministry would face if they had cancelled the diesel genset contracts in return for the solar hybrid project.

"Based on my experience, the solar hybrid project implementation based on the scope that was suggested by Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd required detailed planning to ensure the effective implementation.

"If the solar hybrid project was implemented in a rush, it would face complications during implementation, increase the risk of failure and cause losses and wastage of money," she said.

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