KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — PKR Youth chief Akmal Nasir has urged Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to postpone the construction of three multipurpose halls in his home state of Johor, as its funds could better be used to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the RM35 million currently allocated can also be channelled to the Health Ministry so that the scope of swab tests can be widened, the capacity of quarantine centres increased, and frontliners augmented.
“As the prime minister can suspend Parliament by declaring Emergency, supposedly to fight Covid-19, what is wrong if the construction of the halls were to be suspended as well?” Akmal said in a statement.
Last week, Muhyiddin announced an Emergency that would also suspend the sittings of Parliament and all state legislative assemblies.
The Johor Baru MP also questioned the tender process for the construction of the halls, as overseen by the Finance Ministry.
“Was the tender open or not? Per the contents of the letter that went viral, work at the construction sites should begin on March 1, and a six-week period to do open tender during the movement control order and Emergency means it is quite impossible.
“Although the PM has already explained the funds are to go to constructing all three halls, it still does not answer the main issue facing the government’s expenditure, where the evaluated costs to build one hall in excess of RM16 million is still too high,” he said.
Akmal also pointed out that it is unnecessary to build more halls in Pagoh, as the constituency already has four existing ones: Pagoh Multipurpose Hall, Pagoh Sports Complex Hall, Seri Pekembar Hall, and Pagoh University Hub Hall.
Yesterday the Prime Minister’s Office said the letter, which claimed one multipurpose hall would be constructed in Pagoh to the tune of RM35 million, was false and malicious. Pagoh is also Muhyiddin’s constituency.
Instead the funds were to go to the construction of three halls in Johor, including one
in Tangkak for RM13 million, and two in Muar for a total of RM22.4 million.
The PMO also added that the contracts were awarded via a tender process supervised by the Finance Ministry and not through direct negotiations.
The allegations were based on a January 11 circulating online that purported to be from the Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department to the Works director-general on the matter.