Govt working to plug ‘loopholes’ after Sabah water scandal, Parliament told

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
File picture showing the MACC haul involving RM114 million worth in cash, jewellery, land grants and branded goods. Datuk Razali Ibrahim from the Prime Minister’s Department admitted that the Sabah case was the country’s biggest in the past 49 years and said the government and the MACC were learning from it on how to step up their corruption fight. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March  9 — The federal government has acknowledged weaknesses in its contract award process and is working to rectify them after losing millions of ringgit in the Sabah water scandal last year, a deputy minister told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Datuk Razali Ibrahim from the Prime Minister’s Department admitted that the Sabah case was the country’s biggest in the past 49 years and said the government and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) were learning from it on how to step up their corruption fight.

“We, the MACC and the government would not stop our efforts to combat corruption, including matters involving country’s security.

“Yes, it is true that in the 49 years of our history, this is the biggest case as such and of course we learnt something about the loopholes mentioned,” he said during Question Time.

He was responding to Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud who asked the government to detail the weaknesses in the Sabah Water Department after several officials, including former director Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, were found to have siphoned millions of ringgit meant for infrastructure development.

Dr Siti Mariah also asked the government the source of the RM112 million seized from the top Sabah Water Department officials and the “loopholes”, but Razali did not answer these.

The Muar MP only said the loopholes were not only in the government’s award of contract process as there “are many more issues involved” but that the government has been able to rectify the problems.

Razali added that the case is set to go for trial on July 4.