Bintulu MP weighs in on direct negotiation deals

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

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KUCHING, Aug 28: The controversy surrounding the 101 direct negotiation deals is not on the merits of direct negotiation contracts nor comparing whether Pakatan Harapan (PH), Barisan Nasional (BN) or the Perikatan Nasional (PN) governments had made more direct negotiation deals.

Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to People’s Republic of China Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing contended that the controversy was that the ‘true face’ of  former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had been revealed.

In response to questions of his handling of the direct negotiation contracts, Tiong claimed that Lim’s first reaction was to deny all responsibility and say that others had more directly negotiated contracts.

“During his time, Lim had accused BN of ‘robbing’ GST refunds. However, an investigation by the Public Accounts Committee had confirmed that the relevant funds have not been spent, but deposited into various accounts under the purview of the Ministry of Finance. But thus far, has Lim even stood up and admitted his mistakes?”

Tiong cited Promise No.23 in Pakatan Harapan’s GE14 manifesto which was to “ensure government procurement produced the best value for taxpayer’s money”.

“The manifesto’s 23rd item very blatantly pledged to broadly implement the open tender process in a transparent manner. But that declaration clearly did not allow for directly negotiating a contract, even under special circumstances,” Tiong said, describing Lim’s explanations following the disclosure of the 101 projects as “far-fetched” and like an “after-thought” in relation to this promise in the manifesto.

Lim has been under fire since current Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz issued a statement on Aug 26 on the 101 projects worth RM6.61 billion that had been awarded through direct negotiation under the PH administration.

In a press conference at the Parliament media room on Aug 27, Lim was reported to have said that most of the projects were initiated or a continuation from the previous BN administration and that only RM352 million of the RM6.61 billion projects were initiated by PH.—DayakDaily