Deputy Finance Minister Awang Adek Husin was grilled by Pakatan Rakyat MPs for insisting that the Ampang LRT line extension project was granted to George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd from the very beginning, despite leaked Finance Ministry documents showing otherwise.
"As far as I know, when a decision is made and when we have signed it, there are no more changes. No such thing. I don't know what documents you are talking about," Awang Adek told Parliament when winding-up the committee stage debate on the Finance Ministry's Budget 2013 allocation.
Awang Adek was responding to the query from Saifuddin Nasution (PKR-Machang, left) on why a leaked Jan 25 Finance Ministry's Procurement Committee (JPMK) meeting minutes bearing the prime minister's signature showed that Balfour Beatty was awarded the project, but it was later announced that George Kent won the project.
Awang Adek said that the authenticity of the leaked documents was questionable, adding that there have been other instances where the premier's signature was forged.Following this denial, Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai) interjected and challenged the deputy minister to declare that the leaked procurement documents were false.
"I want an explanation if you are declaring that these documents are false. If you are, then we can use your statement here in Parliament to absolve (PKR director of strategy) Rafizi Ramli if he is charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)," Nurul Izzah (right) said.
Rafizi, who revealed the leaked documents to the press, has since been hauled up by police under the OSA.
This fact alone, Saifuddin then insisted, indicated that the documents were authentic.
However, Awang Adek responded to the challenge by saying: "I have never seen the document before. There are so many documents. Not all of them are real and some could be false."
Apparently, the company which was awarded the contract had fared badly at the evaluation stage. It was rated fifth among eight bidders.
Awang defended the government decision to award the contract to a company which did not top the technical evaluation process. This is precisely the problem with the government - continuous denial of favoritism. A lack of technical quality is reflected in a number of public projects including the Trengganu stadium, the Defence Ministry quarters and a host of other projects.
The fact that the project was awarded not to the top rated company already merits an investigation from the MACC but this is not going to happen in Malaysia.
Awang Adek added that even though George Kent had no prior experience in railway projects, it has appointed credible sub-contractors comprising international players.
Rightly pointed by a few Pakatan leaders, this is no different from an Ali Baba dealing. At the end of the day, if the contractor sub contracts out to other international players why should they be awarded the project in the first place? Malaysians ended up paying more compared to awarding it directly to an international player who can do the job.
It is a shame that a Ministry is openly practicing a ridiculous policy. No wonder they needed a Perimekar for the submarine Scorpene deal too and ended up paying an additional RM560 million in commission.
Where is MCA when you need them to speak up on poor governance? Oh wait, they are too preoccupied with trying to scare the Chinese with hudud. Why should be afraid of hudud when we are not criminals? I would like to know how hudud law deals with corrupt officials.