Syed Saddiq vows to resign if proven abusing power to grant IKBN tender covertly

Yiswaree Palansamy
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman speaks to reporters at the Parliament lobby in Kuala Lumpur November 25, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has vowed to resign from Cabinet today if he is proven to have accepted an under-the-table deal to grant a tender for Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN).

In his winding up speech while debating his ministry’s budget, Syed Saddiq repeatedly stressed that he was not involved in the process, as the application had to be made via online procurement platform ePerolehan, and then decided by government officers.

“With Allah as my witness. If there is abuse of power, swindling, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) proves that this is abuse of power, I will be the first person to resign.

“I am not afraid. I am not afraid in this matter,” he said, before accusing the previous Barisan Nasional government of being largely involved in such dealings.

“I can name one by one, alright? The tenders before this, were given via direct negotiations, and limited tender. Projects were abandoned, tens of millions [of ringgit] wasted. Contracts were directed to fellow comrades in Umno divisions! I can prove it,” he claimed.

The Parliament had initially descended in chaos after both Paya Besar and Jelebu MPs argued about the granting of a catering tender for IKBN to only several companies, which they claimed was suspicious.

Jelebu MP Datuk Jalaluddin Alias had in the morning claimed that the proof for this was even left on his table in the Dewan Rakyat this morning, allegedly by a Ministry of Youth and Sports officer, and questioned as to how the three companies were short-listed out of some 6,000 applicants.

“Minister, I only want to ask for one commitment from you, in this honourable hall. Do these three companies not have any links to you? Paya Besar MP Mohd Shahar Abdullah asked earlier, to which Syed Saddiq replied in the negative.

“If we find that there are accusations and proof, are you willing to resign as minister?” he asked again, to which Syed Saddiq then replied that he welcomed any reports to the MACC and the police on the said matter, adding that he had also instructed his own officer to lodge a report with the anti-graft agency.

Syed Saddiq’s remark against Umno then prompted a second round of shouting matches, after Jelutong MP RSN Rayer then dared Mohd Shahar and Jalaluddin to resign, should Syed Saddiq be vindicated.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who was presiding over the meeting, then called for calm, and threatened to send Rayer and Jalaluddin out of the Lower House, should they continue defying his orders.

Order was then restored and the meeting continued.

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