Was it my fault Cabinet decided 10pc cut to save money on direct deals? Guan Eng asks Zuraida

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Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng speaks to reporters during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur August 25, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng speaks to reporters during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur August 25, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng today backed Datuk Tamrin Ghafar’s plan to sue Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaraddin for alleged defamation over the government controversial award of contracts through direct negotiations.

The DAP secretary-general reminded Zuraida that she was part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration that decided in 2018 to renegotiate the direct deal contracts awarded by the Barisan Nasional (BN).

He further reminded her that the move was to save the government money and urged her to come clean on the PH Cabinet’s collective decision.

“Indeed, Zuraida played a political trick when trying to link the decision of the Pakatan Harapan Cabinet in 2018 to deduct 10 per cent of the direct negotiation contract price approved by BN, as proof that I myself had decided to cut the 10 per cent price to continue PSPTB through RT,” Lim said in a statement, referring to the Solid Waste Transfer Station Project.

“Even though the Cabinet had actually decided to cut the price of 10 per cent of all direct negotiation BN projects, it remains, ‘this is all Lim Guan Eng's fault’,” he added.

The PH Cabinet’s decision to cut 10 per cent of all RT projects by BN involved 121 projects, and managed to save the national fund by RM800 million.

The savings had not yet taken into account the larger savings of RM49.5 billion as a result of the renegotiation of BN mega projects provided on RT, such as the ECRL, MRT2, LRT3 and Pan-Borneo Sarawak projects.

The total savings as a result of the renegotiation of RT BN projects is RM50.3 billion.

Lim stated that it is not possible for a project of this magnitude to be approved without Zuraida’s knowledge.

“Any proposal or application to the Ministry of Finance related to KPKT, would be referred first to KPKT for the next process. If there was a letter of instruction from me, Zuraida would certainly have revealed it much earlier. Zuraida's failure to do so only proves who is brave because it is true, who is afraid because it is wrong,” said Lim

Zuraida was also the local government and housing minister under PH rule.

She previously denied all knowledge of two projects awarded through direct negotiations by her ministry under PH said to be worth around RM170.8 million as revealed by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz in August.

Tamrin, the son of former deputy prime minister the late Tun Ghafar Baba, had last week threatened Zuraida with a defamation lawsuit for her remarks linking him to the controversial PSPTB contract.

She described Tamrin as the adviser of Bumi Segar Indah that was directly awarded a RM170 million solid waste project in Taman Beringin and claimed he lobbied Lim for the deal.

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