By Adrian Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24: Parliamentarians today cross swords over the issue of direct awarding of contracts by former Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government.
Members of the Parliament from both sides exchanged heated arguments over contracts approved by former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng who is Bagan MP without open tender.
The heated debate in Parliament started after Finance Minister Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz revealed that former PH federal government had awarded 101 contracts worth RM6.61 billion through direct negotiations .
When Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali who was also a former PH minister claimed that the issue of direct contract awards was never presented to the Federal Cabinet, a large number of MPs stood up to protest.
Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim was in shock and disbelief when hearing the figure.
He asked — ”RM6 billion? Through direct negotiation, Bagan (referring to Lim)?”
Being sarcastic, Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan who asked the question on how many contracts were awarded by PH through direct negotiations and the amount involved, pretended he did not hear the answer properly in the first place.
“YB Minister, I did not hear clearly. How many hundreds of projects? Can you please repeat the figure?” asked Ahmad Maslan.
Abdul Azeez who then interjected also asked the Finance Minister to repeat the figure and the number of projects.
After Tengku Zafrul repeated the figure, Abdul Azeez, Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, Tanjong Karang MP Tan Sri Noh Omar sarcastically chided Lim for being “fantastic”.
“Hebat (fantastic) Bagan, hebat”, Azeez added.
Lim claimed that the contracts awarded without open tender were presented to the Cabinet.
Azmin, who was Economic Affairs Minister during PH time, however, pointed out that the Federal Cabinet was not informed of these direct awarded contracts approved by the then Finance Ministry.
His remarks then caused a large number of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat to stand up in protest.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun had to call for order by giving warning three times to all the MPs to sit down but still had to resort to ejecting Beruas MP Ngeh Hoo Kam from the Parliament who kept on protesting despite being asked to keep order.
Azhar stressed that he will not hesitate to ask whoever MP to leave the hall if they caused time to be wasted in the Parliament.
Earlier, Tengku Zafrul said direct negotiations of contracts were allowed by the federal government with the approval of the Finance Ministry based on certain criteria.
He explained that some of the criteria included urgent need of goods procured, compatibility of the goods, goods supplied by a single manufacturer and contracts with Bumiputera companies which fulfil the eligible criteria. —DayakDaily