KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng has hit back at Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin after the latter accused the former of awarding a direct negotiation contract behind her back.
Lim said if the deal was really done by KPKT and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) without Zuraida’s knowledge, then the ministry’s secretary-general (KSU) should be punished by the minister.
“KPKT’s application letter to the MoF should be sent in 2018 by the KSU of KPKT as this project involves a large amount of RM170.3 million. It is not possible for the KSU of KPKT to write an official letter in 2018 to the MoF without the knowledge or agreement of its minister, namely Zuraida.
“If it is true that the application was made without Zuraida’s knowledge, KSU could be subject to disciplinary action. I do not believe that the KSU ‘traitor’ to Pakatan Harapan,” the former finance minister said in a statement.
Lim said Zuraida has failed to deny the existence of a letter of application from the ministry in 2018 to reappointed the project’s contractor.
“I hope Zuraida does not hide, hide facts, cover up the truth or run away from the real facts,” Lim added.
In August 28, Zuraida had alleged that Lim was lobbied personally for projects awarded without tender in her ministry.
She alleged Bumi Segar Indah advisor Datuk Tamrin Abdul Ghafar met with Lim about the projects in 2018 before being awarded by the Finance Ministry in 2019. Lim was the finance minister at the time.
Before that, Zuraida denied all knowledge of the two projects awarded through direct negotiations by her ministry under Pakatan Harapan (PH) said to be worth around RM170.8 million, which Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz revealed last week.
She said she would “investigate” the two projects that include the Taman Beringin solid waste project worth RM170 million and the Century software accounting system worth RM501,206.37.
PH leaders have mocked Zuraida for saying she did not know about the direct negotiations and her previous insistence that none took place under her.
They juxtaposed reports of her denying knowledge of the projects with others showing her visiting the Taman Beringin facility last year.
Tengku Zafrul released the list after PH lawmakers demanded that he substantiate his previous disclosure that RM6.6 billion worth of projects were awarded without tender during the coalition’s administration.
However, the majority of the disclosed listware for projects either completed before PH won the 14th general election in May 2018 or begun by the previous BN administration.
After PH’s rivals used his disclosure to claim PH reneged on an election promise, Tengku Zafrul asked that his remarks not be used as political capital.