Former works minister: Did Guan Eng pre-empt Cabinet with RM6.2b highway offer?

Azril Annuar
Lim had issued a statement on June 22 confirming news reports that the government had made the RM6.2 billion offer to take over four highway concessionaires: Litrak, LDP, Sprint and the Smart Tunnel. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — Former works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof has raised the question on whether or not Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had referred to the Cabinet before announcing the RM6.2 billion offer to buy-out four highway concessionaires.

Speaking to Malay Mail, the Petrajaya MP believed that Lim had pre-empted the Cabinet due to Works Minister Baru Bian’s conflicting press statement on June 22 where he said that any decision to purchase the highway concessionaires must go through the Cabinet first.

“With the works minister’s statement, I’m confused. Did the finance minister pre-empt the Cabinet in making the offer to the concessionaires?” he asked.

“I think he might have pre-empted them and this should not have happened. I’m not certain what has happened here but there is conflicting statements from two ministers.”

Lim had issued a statement on June 22 confirming news reports that the government had made the RM6.2 billion offer to take over four highway concessionaires (Litrak, LDP, Sprint and the Smart Tunnel), a deal that can save taxpayers RM5.3 billion in paying compensation.

Litrak had announced in a Bursa filing on Friday, June 21 that it received the RM2.47 billion takeover offer from the government which means that Putrajaya was offering to buy RM5.21 per share.

The offer was one ringgit higher than the closing price of Litrak’s share on Friday which stood at RM4.21. Since the announcement however, Litrak’s share prices have jumped as high as RM4.97 and at 12.30pm today it stands at RM4.95.

Regarding the offer-price, the opposition lawmaker questioned whether Lim had gone through proper due-diligence before making the announcement.

“Has the offer gone through a proper cost-benefit analysis seeing that the works minister is still waiting for the report from the independent consultant that they hired?” asked Fadillah.

Fadillah pointed out that during his time as a minister under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, a committee consisting of representatives from the Economic Planning Unit, the Finance Ministry and Works Ministry would be formed.

“The committee will negotiate the matter with the concessionaires. Only when we have come to an agreement will we bring the matter to Cabinet for the Cabinet to make a decision. We will only make the offer to the concessionaires after the Cabinet has agreed,” said Fadillah.

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