By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 12: The mere mention of the Jepak Holdings case triggered a dramatic episode in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) between Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip (PBB-Jepak) and David Wong (DAP-Palawan).
“What am I hiding? What am I hiding? What are you hiding? You yourself (inaudible),” Talib uttered in an unusually loud voice when delivering his winding-up speech today.
What had caused him to explode is unclear, because it was not shown on the DUN media feed, which was telecast live in the media room.
“When Lim Guan Eng was in court, is the same standard being applied? You don’t. You kept quiet. Don’t apply a double standard,” said Talib.
Wong was then heard seeking clarifications, which Talib gave way.
“Lim Guan Eng (case) is a personal case. Whether he bought cheap or expensive, it has nothing to do with the people,” said Wong.
Wong said the Jepak Holdings case, however, was different, as it did not go through the tender process and it involved about RM1 billion.
“We are not blaming you, but your ministry must do something. Make sure from the Sarawak government and to the ministry, all departments must practise open tender. That is what we want from you because it is taxpayer money.
“Nothing personal. I know Jepak Holdings does not belong to you, but it happened and it made Sarawak really mad. All the kids can’t have electricity because of one company ‘makan all the duit’. I wasn’t saying you, because there wasn’t open tender,” said Wong.
At this junction, Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar interjected.
“This is a federal contract. The CEO (of the company) has been remanded and an ex-prime minister has been charged. Do you want his ministry (Talib’s) to do a parallel investigation? Does the ministry have the power to supersede the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Committee)?” asked Asfia.
In response, Wong said it was understood that the Jepak case happened under the previous federal government.
“It is a federal issue with MACC involved. But what we expect from the minister of Integrity and Ombudsman is that Sarawak from now on, especially with the huge budget next year, should have the integrity to make sure that (there is) no contract without open tender, no direct negotiation, no special case,” said Wong.
Asfia interjected again to put a stop to it.
“With the investigation done by MACC, a parallel investigation does not arise. And this ministry has no superseding power over MACC. And, therefore, to ridicule and make the minister (Talib) responsible makes no sense. Proceed,” said Asfia, who put a stop to the episode. — DayakDaily