PETALING JAYA: Tony Pua has denied allegations of threatening a property developer, who had faced financial problems in a joint venture project with the government to develop a multi-billion-ringgit complex in Kuala Lumpur, as mentioned in former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s upcoming book.
Describing it as false allegations, the Damansara MP, who was the political secretary to then finance minister Lim Guan Eng, said this was not the first time Dr Mahathir had made the accusation.
Back in November 2018, Lim was summoned to Dr Mahathir’s office to reprimand Pua's purported action.
“The problem is, I could never have ‘threatened’ the property developer because I have never personally met or spoken to the developer,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 7).
In his book, the former prime minister had reportedly claimed to put a stop to an adviser to the then finance minister for overreaching his authority on civil servants.
The adviser had purportedly participated in business negotiations involving the government, despite not being empowered to do so and resorted to threats.
“Now, this particular DAP adviser did in fact make this threat despite the fact that billions had already been spent, and he did so without reference to or indeed getting any authorisation from the government.
“It’s not the way a government works, and I put a stop to all instances of it that I was aware of, but it was this kind of behaviour that allowed the Umno cyber troopers to play up ethnic insecurities,” Dr Mahathir reportedly wrote in his book.
According to Pua, the project involved is Exchange 106, which is part of the controversial Tun Razak Exchange, a 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) legacy.
He added that he was tasked by the minister to monitor the progress and resolution of several issues, pertaining to the project worth an estimated RM3bil.
However, Pua pointed out that the current treasurer-general and TRX City officials led all negotiations and discussions with the company.
“I was never present in their discussions,” he added.
“I regret that Dr Mahathir is extremely selective in his memory. It is unfortunate that he prefers to believe the words of an extremely crooked foreign tycoon, previously convicted of cheating hundreds of billions of rupiah from Bank Bali in 2009; and subsequently convicted again for forgery in 2020 and bribery in 2021.
“Dr Mahathir should have been proud that his government has successfully protected the interest of the rakyat in this multi-billion-ringgit scandal and recorded that achievement in his memoirs.
“Instead, he has chosen to be petty and wrote about how he was able to ‘put a stop’ to the lowly political secretary of the minister of finance,” said Pua.