Guan Eng on RM450m direct negotiation project: I have to discuss it with PM first

Yiswaree Palansamy
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng answers questions during the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme in Petaling Jaya September 16, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PETALING JAYA, Sept 16 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today said that he would be discussing with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a now viral letter, purportedly from the Ministry of Finance (MoF), about a RM450 million project allegedly awarded through direct negotiation in Kota Baru, Kelantan.

Lim when queried about the letter by a journalist who pressed him for comments, questioned the journalist in return, asking if the letter bore his signature.

“Was it signed by me? Was it signed by me?” Lim asked the journalist when she posed the question.

“So please lah. There are so many letters signed. If it is not signed by me, you must first let me go do the assessment first. 

“I think you are referring to what the PM said, isn’t it? So can I discuss with my PM first? It is not right for me not to discuss with the PM first before talking to you,” Lim said referring to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 

When pointed out that the letter was issued from his ministry, owing to the letterhead, Lim again repeated that the document did not bear his signature and said there are many other officials under him at MoF.

“There are how many letters signed by me and other officials? So if it is signed by me, at least there is some basis. Signed by so many other officials. You know how many staff are there in MoF? Please be reasonable,” he said, again asking for space to discuss the matter with the Prime Minister.

However, last night Dr Mahathir had also told reporters that he would also be looking into the said letter that claims to have his backing and the approval of the MoF for a direct negotiation for the project located in Tunjong, near Kota Baru in Kelantan.

Speaking to reporters after the Putrajaya Boat Race Championship 2019, the prime minister said he has never approved any new direct negotiations since taking over Putrajaya last year.

However, he said that there was a possibility that the purported direct negotiation for the Kelantan project, could be a continuation of what was done during the previous Barisan Nasional’s (BN) regime.  

The letter dated July 26, 2019 was allegedly faxed to the Prime Minister’s Department’s Senior Deputy Chief Secretary Datuk Hasnol Zam Zam Ahmad.

It referred to a ‘design and build’ project for a “Bangunan Gunasama Persekutuan” Kota Baru, Tunjong.

The letter said that it referred to a letter sent by the prime minister dated July 9, 2019.

“We would like to inform you that his honourable Finance Minister have agreed for PDM Builders Sdn Bhd to be appointed through direct negotiation to implement “Bangunan Gunasama Persekutuan” Kota Baru, Tunjong with the price of RM450,000,000,” said the letter allegedly penned by Datuk Zamzuri Abdul Aziz from the Government’s Procurement Section.

The letter was tweeted by Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Razlan Rafii yesterday.

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