Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In George Town, Penang On 31.1.2018.
What is Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission(MACC) investigating now that MCA Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Wee Ka Siong no longer alleges corruption in the RM 6.3 billon tunnel and 3 highways project but claims instead that the Penang state government did not clearly state that China Railway Construction Corporation(CRCC) is not a shareholder but the main contractor? Wee Ka Siong claims that the failure of the Penang state government to state that clearly, is a misrepresentation that allowed the inclusion of CRCC to increase the paid-up capital of the project to RM4.5 billion.
If this is Wee’s main contention, then the BN media is involved in fake news by quoting MACC sources that there is corruption in this project or kickbacks of up to millions of ringgit to state government leaders despite the fact that the project was granted in a transparent manner by open competitive tender. Clearly the Penang state government is a victim of a systematic political lynching by both BN and MACC to smear our image in the run-up to the 14th general elections.
That is why the Penang state government will not be bullied by the BN Government’s political witch hunt nor bow down to dirty tactics of intimidation, fake news and abuse of power to sabotage this transport plan to alleviate traffic congestion in Penang. There is nothing to hide nor fear when the project is granted through an open competitive tender by the Penang Tender Committee. Bear in mind that the Penang Tender Committee is required by law to be chaired by the State Secretary and its members, senior state government officials. The Chief Minister or the EXCO member is not permitted by law to be in the Penang State Tender Committee.
Before responding to Wee, can he explain why he lied that the project agreement signed by the state government was not properly stamped because it only appeared on one page or lied that the commitment by CRCC as main contractor to complete the project was not legally binding because it was not stamped. It is also unfair for Wee to drag the Penang State Secretary into the political arena, especially when this project is under investigation by MACC. Wee again pretends not to know that senior state government officials in Penang are under the Federal government.
There is a reason why Wee deliberately refuses to apologise for his blatant lie that the agreement was not stamped or that CRCC’s commitment to complete the project was not legally binding because it was not stamped. Wee is desperate to exclude CRCC because CRCC is part of the main agreement that was signed by the state government on 29.10.2013 together with Zenith consortium. Even CRCC has issued a statement that was cited by Wee in The Star on 20.1.2018, confirming that CRCC is the main contractor for this project.
In other words it was a form of “tri-partite agreement” comprising the state government, the consortium as shareholders, and CRCC as the main contractor. In order to lock in CRCC as the main contractor, CRCC gave an additional commitment in the agreement to successfully complete the project – a form of double insurance. Locking in CRCC is important to ensure the project’s success not only in terms of financial viability but also the technical and professional expertise required for such a major project.
Is it wrong to say, in terms easily understood by the public, that when the agreement was signed, the whole project has the legal backing of companies with a paid-up capital of RM4.5 billion that has committed itself legally to ensure its successful completion. This is similar to our repeated attacks on the 1MDB scandal that apart from the famous RM2.6 billion donation given to M01, Jho Low had also benefited USD1 billion. This is not strictly accurate because the USD1 billion stolen from cheating 1MDB benefited not just Jho Low but also others, including the Prime Minister’s step-son.
Wee will definitely dispute that the Penang state government misrepresented the project but if Wee’s contention is the lack of clear emphasis that CRCC is the main contractor and not the shareholder, “Where then is the corruption involving Penang state government leaders?”
LIM GUAN ENG