By Aathi Shankar
The RM450mil federal multipurpose building project in Tunjong, Kelantan was first cancelled, then revived, approved and awarded through direct negotiations by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government.
The black and white evidence revealed that all these were done by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng under the instructions of Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad.
PH, Guan Eng and DAP have always projected themselves as champions of open tender policy.
The open tender policy was promoted to supposedly eliminate elements of corruption in project negotiations, at least for public perception.
Guan Eng dismissed allegations of corruption in his Penang tunnel project negotiations by claiming that it was done through open tender policy when he was the state chief minister.
Why then PH, Guan Eng and DAP adopted a closed tender policy in the Kelantan project?
PH’s attempt to blame former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over its own policy tumble was deceptive and mischievous.
The building project was approved by the previous Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN) government in 2016.
But it was, among many projects that had not begun construction, cancelled by PH after forming the federal government in May, 2018.
But the ‘Bangunan Gunasama Persekutuan Kota Baru’ project was suddenly revived through direct negotiations by PH government.
A viralled image of the letter showed the project’s developer PDM Builders Sdn Bhd thanking Mahathir for approving the project through direct negotiations.
So why drag in Najib and previous BN government?
Another feeble attempt by PH to pin all blames on BN.
As usual, a comical DAP politician, Pahang DAP secretary Lee Chin Chen called on MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong to lodge reports to the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against Najib.
Why should reports lodged in the first place, unless one suspects there was an element of corruption in it.
Malaysians are aware that BN never claimed to be a champion of open tender policy.
There had been so many projects in the past under BN government given out under open, closed and limited tender policies.
It was PH that had been so adamant in the past and had vigorously campaigned for and championed the implementation of the process of open tender.
PH, Guan Eng and DAP had always preached that the open tender policy as the correct way to evade corruption and public perception of corruption.
But in Kelantan, the much-trumpeted PH’s dogma was abandoned. Why?
A letter, dated July 26, 2019, had been faxed to a senior officer in the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD), and apparently referred to an earlier letter of instruction sent by Mahathir to Guan Eng on July 9.
In his letter, Mahathir had directed Guan Eng to revive the project through direct negotiations.
The July 26 letter showed that Guan Eng had agreed for a company to be appointed through direct negotiation to undertake the RM450 million project.
An officer from the government’s procurement section allegedly signed the letter.
Why such a hurry to revive the project under a direct open tender negotiation policy?
Wonder who would have such a strong political influence to revive a cancelled project!
Something amiss, something fishy.