Minister denies cronyism in Petron contract

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Lim said today the application for a supply licence, called the indent card, is open to all major petrol companies and not limited to just one. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — The decision to employ Petron as one of the petrol suppliers for the government was purely administrative, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.

Lim said the accusations made by then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man that the contract award to Petron was cronyism is baseless.

Lim explained that the government still designated Petronas and Shell as petrol suppliers for state vehicles, and that Petron’s appointment as the third provider was based on guidelines also practised by the Najib administration.

“The decision was purely administrative and not operational,” Lim said in a statement issued today.

“Therefore it doesn’t arise that political interference was the reason behind the contract award.

“As a former finance minister he should know that even BHP and Caltex had applied to be a panellist,” he added.

The Pakatan Harapan administration announced last Thursday that Petron had been appointed as the third panel petrol supplier for government vehicles.

The move drew criticism from the Opposition, who alleged cronyism since aone of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir’s sons is a stakeholder in Petron.

Lim said today the application for a supply licence, called the indent card, is open to all major petrol companies and not limited to just one.

“The number of panel members is not limited and can be widened because the more suppliers apply the cheaper the cost is for the federal government,” the minister said.

Petron was only appointed as a supplier panel member after a two-year negotiation, the MoF said.

Petron had made the application twice in 2016 and December 2017, it revealed.

The company was hired because its offer allowed for cost savings, Lim explained.

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