Najib: Show me proof that I approved RM22b additional funds for LRT3

Yiswaree Palansamy
Najib attends the launch of the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT Line Extension project at the Putra Heights LRT station in Subang Jaya June 30, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today said he did not approve the additional funds of RM22 billion for the Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3), as claimed by DAP national public secretary Tony Pua.

Najib in a statement today explained that the RM22 billion mentioned by Pua was a mere application which he never agreed to.

He also demanded that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government produce proof to back its claim.

“A representative of the Finance Ministry today claimed that I knew that the cost of LRT3 was at a towering RM32 billion, so I’m asking for a document that shows I had approved an additional RM22 billion bailout. Show the proof.

“It was just an application that the BN government never agreed,” Najib said in a statement today.

Pua, who is also the special officer to Finance MInister Lim Guan Eng, had earlier today criticised Najib for claiming ignorance when disputing the government’s estimated cost for the 37km LRT3.

He also accused Najib of incompetence for saying he did not know that the project would blow its budget as currently alleged.

Pua said it was untenable for Najib to claim that he did not know that the RM9 billion budget he had previously announced for the project only covered basic construction costs and not any form of acquisition.

He also highlighted that project operator Prasarana already awarded RM15.2 billion worth of work packages in March, which must be approved by a Finance Ministry committee personally chaired by Najib.

Pua also challenged Najib’s insistence that the additional RM22 billion allocation sought by Prasanara has not been approved, saying this did not change the fact that this was the amount Prasarana believed it required to complete the job.

“Datuk Seri Najib Razak should ask himself how he was so incompetent, ignorant, clueless and irresponsible as to be completely not aware of how the cost of the LRT3 project has gone out of control,” Pua said.

Lim previously revealed the RM31 billion figure by disclosing Prasarana’s request for an additional RM22 billion in government guarantees above the RM10 billion it secured in 2015.

Lim subsequently announced that the PH government has been able to slash 47 per cent from the initial cost to bring this to RM16.63 billion by adjusting project parameters.