Zuraida: Projects awarded without my knowledge

PETALING JAYA: Questions have arisen over two contracts worth RM170mil involving the Housing and Local Government Ministry that were said to be awarded without the minister’s knowledge.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, who kept her post after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government six months ago, stressed that she was unaware about the contracts awarded via direct negotiation involving her ministry.

“Two projects approved to the ministry during the previous administration was done beyond my knowledge. The ministry is committed to carrying out investigations into the issue,” she said.

Zuraida said this in response to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz’s move to reveal 161 contracts worth RM6.61bil that were awarded through 20 ministries via direct negotiation during the Pakatan administration.

In Parliament, several Opposition lawmakers demanded that Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee over his claims that government projects given via direct negotiation under the Pakatan Harapan government did not receive the approval of the Cabinet.

Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PH-Kulim Bandar Baharu), a former Cabinet minister, said after reviewing the list that he was confident that the projects were presented to the Cabinet and claimed Azmin’s accusation was false.

“I ask that the Speaker make a ruling based on Standing Order 36 (12) on this issue,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Under Standing Order 36 (12), any member of the Dewan Rakyat who imputes statements that mislead the House is deemed to be in contempt of the House and the member may be referred to the Committee of Privileges for such offences.

On Monday, during the debates, Azmin, who was also a minister during the Pakatan administration, interjected and said the list was not presented to the Cabinet.

Dr Maszlee Malik (IND-Simpang Renggam), also a former minister, concurred with Saifuddin that Azmin’s statement was misleading.“Among the projects which were approved included a project under my ministry which was tabled and agreed, and this is against the statement made by Gombak,” he said.

In reply, Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon urged Saifuddin to write a letter to the Speaker’s office.

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