KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders have called for Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz to come clean about the RM6.61 billion figure revealed in Parliament yesterday.
DAP’s Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng said Zafrul needed to reveal how the latter had come up with the figure and list the 101 projects that were allegedly approved via direct negotiations by the former PH administration.
“He (Zafrul) has failed to reveal a full list of the 101 projects which were done via direct negotiations.
“Why is (he) afraid of doing so? As a finance minister, he should not play hide-and-seek with information and don’t sail under false colours (jangan baling batu sembunyi tangan).
“I dare him to reveal everything so that the rakyat can evaluate and compare which company succeeded in getting a tender, which crony got it (project) and which minister applied for projects via direct negotiations,” he told reporters during a press conference at the Parliament building here today.
Lim, who is also a former finance minister, was responding to Zafrul who revealed the RM6.61 billion figure in Parliament yesterday which triggered a dispute between MPs from both sides of the political divide.
He also alleged whether Zafrul was afraid to reveal the list of tenders fearing that it would embarrass current ministers who were ministers during the PH administration who had also applied for projects via direct negotiations, including Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“Is Zafrul afraid that he would end up revealing that the PM (Muhyiddin) himself when he was home minister, and along with other ‘traitor ministers’, had applied for projects via direct awards from me when I was finance minister?
“If so, is the Perikatan Nasional (PN) PM also guilty if he did apply for projects via direct negotiations during the time?
“How could they ridicule themselves?” said Lim.
He also cited projects which were approved via direct negotiations during the former Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, indicating that the amount was far more compared to the RM6.61 billion amount.
“There are 12 projects which were approved via direct negotiations during BN’s time worth RM139.336 billion.
“This is far more compared to the RM6.61 billion amount said to be approved during PH’s time.
“This isn’t even the full list,” he said.
When asked about International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s comment on PH’s failure to bring the ‘approved 101 projects’ to Cabinet, Lim said the former is an expert at twisting facts.
“He has forgotten his roots (lupa daratan). How is it possible that he has forgotten what was presented during Cabinet meetings?
“He is an expert at twisting facts (pakar kelentong),” said Lim.
He also clarified that Muhyiddin when he was home minister had applied for projects utilising direct negation for security-related issues.
“He did write to me, some (projects) were approved and some were not.
“Let the minister (Zafrul) reveal it,” he said.
Backing Lim’s claims, former defence minister and Amanah’s Kota Raja MP Mohamad Sabu said negotiations done via open tender were not necessarily an option for matters related to security issues.
“Matters relating to security issues not all can be done through open tender.
“For example, to purchase a helicopter or vessel, that can be done via open tender,” he said.
In another attempt to explain the dispute, former domestic trade and consumer affairs minister and PKR’s Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail gave an example of a bridge that was washed away in his constituency which called for immediate repairs.
“Projects, like these, involved more than 3,000 residents in the village.
“Am I supposed to tell the villagers that they have to wait for repair projects to be approved via open tender?” he said.
In addition, former water, land and natural resources minister and PKR’s Kuala Langat MP Dr Xavier Jayakumar said it is impossible that four ministers who were formerly ministers with the then PH administration did not know about the direct negotiations which were brought to the Cabinet.
“Four ministers in the Cabinet who are sitting in PN cannot say they don’t know. It means that they were dumb in the meeting.
“They also have asked (for projects to be approved via direct negotiations),” he said.
Also present at the press conference were former ministers and deputy ministers including Yeo Bee Yin, M. Kulasegaran, Khalid Abdul Samad, Steven Sim, Teo Nie Ching and Datuk Dr Hatta Ramli.
In a heated dispute between PH and PN MPs yesterday, during Zafrul’s winding-up speech on the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)) Bill 2020, DAP’s Beruas MP Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham was ejected from the august House when he stood up to request a clarification from the finance minister on the RM6.61 billion worth of projects approved under the former PH administration.
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