Malaysia's anti-graft agency to look into allegations of '101 projects' under previous Pakatan Harapan govt

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will look into the allegations that 101 projects were allegedly awarded through direct negotiations during Pakatan Harapan’s administration, as political parties filed reports against former finance minister Lim Guan Eng on the matter.

The MACC said it would obtain the list from the Finance Ministry.

“MACC will get the list of the 101 projects from the Finance Ministry which are said to have been given through direct negotiations during the previous administration.

“A thorough study will be made to determine whether there was corruption, misappropriation and abuse of power in this regard,” it said in a statement on Tuesday (Aug 25).

On Monday, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz told the Dewan Rakyat that Lim, as finance minister then, had approved 101 projects worth RM6.61 billion (S$2.16 billion) through direct negotiations during the Pakatan administration.

Lim said the tenders had been approved by the then Cabinet.

Political parties on Tuesday filed reports with the MACC, asking it to investigate Lim, who is Democratic Action Party secretary-general, on the matter as soon as possible.

Barisan Nasional component parties Umno, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), which were represented by their Youth wings, filed a report on the allegations against Lim to the MACC at its headquarters on Tuesday.

Umno Youth exco member Aizat Azam, who was accompanied by MCA Youth vice-chairman Yow Toh Gee and MIC Youth secretary G. Theeageesh, said that it was shocking that such a huge number of projects could have been awarded in such a manner within a mere 22 months.

“Pakatan had promised the people in its manifesto that it will not award projects through direct negotiations.

“We are not refuting the fact that there are certain situations in which direct negotiations are allowed, but what we want is for MACC to investigate whether all these projects were indeed awarded according to the law,” said Mr Aizat, who is a lawyer.

Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) also filed a report with the MACC, urging it to investigate Lim on the same allegations.

PCM vice-president R. Muralitharan said that MACC should check whether the value of the projects awarded was “marked up” and if the companies involved were qualified.

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said the details of the projects given out through direct negotiations by Lim should be made public in the name of “transparency”.

“The people have the right to know (the details),” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in Parliament House on Tuesday, Lim issued a challenge to Datuk Seri Zafrul to reveal all projects done via direct negotiations during the Barisan, Pakatan and Perikatan Nasional administrations.

“Don’t reveal and make baseless allegations without backing them up with proof,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Lim said Pakatan had honoured its promise made in its manifesto in the 14th general election by implementing open tenders for projects.

“However, there were some exemptions to the open tenders that were allowed by the Finance Ministry (then) based on the government guidelines,” he said.

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