TTF: Lim guan Eng is a thoroughbred liar and one heck of a spin master.
Yesterday, the Penang Chief Minister demanded that Dato’ Wee Ka Siong specify the alleged corrupt practices in the state’s undersea tunnel deal (see news item below). His rationale was simple – since it was the MCA leader who questioned China Railway Construction Corporation’s (CRCC) non-participation in the project, the burden of proof was on him to prove everything wasn’t kosher.
Now, that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard. The reason being, on the 23rd of January 2018, Ka Siong pointed out the glaring discrepancies between claims made by the Penang state government and those by CRCC. He never spoke anything beyond that and most certainly made no mention of the many controversies surrounding costs incurred. So why doesn’t Guan Eng just focus on what the MCA leader said instead of talking about stuff he never said?
Ka Siong’s disclosure followed a statement by the Chinese construction giant that denied its involvement in the project. He pointed out that the Penang state secretary had, on the 4th of March 2013, announced the awarding of the RM6.3 billion project to Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) via the state-run Buletin Mutiara. He further noted that CZBUCG was “selected (in the open tender) based on the evaluation of the financial and technical strength of the CRCC and BUCG.”
Not only did the disclosure cast a shadow of doubt over the manner Guan Eng negotiated the deal, it immediately brought into question the validity of any existing agreements or contracts the state government entered with CZBUCG. But the Chief Minister maintains that everything was done in accordance with the law.
According to him, CRCC had committed itself to the project through an “Acknowledgement of Commitment” which he claimed was “officially stamped.” But team Wee Ka Siong seems to think that the agreement is akin to an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) that isn’t legally binding. Now, isn’t the onus on the Chief Minister to prove the MCA leader wrong?
So here I am, Guan Eng, asking again – why not focus on proving Ka Siong to be a liar instead of talking about stuff he never said? I hereby challenge you to do just that if you sincerely believe that the MCA leader damaged your reputation with intent of sabotaging the tunnel project.
Your spins, your lies – you just don’t know when to stop, do you? Today, you’re accusing Barisan Nasional of “sabotaging the tunnel project.” Yesterday, you accused the coalition of sabotaging you when the alleged bungalow-for-land scam deal broke the internet. Are you not aware that the people of Penang are growing sick and tired of you and your lies?
Seriously, why question the MACC for probing the tunnel project when it was you who supported the agency back when 1MDB was investigated? Do you really expect us to believe that Wee Ka Siong and gang are sabotaging you when your own administration is doing a great job sabotaging itself? No? Then let me refer you to something I wrote on the 24th of January 2018:
When Dato’ Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli (the SPV chairman) spoke to newsmen on the 15th of June 2016, he pointed out that the SPV (CZBUCG) had “completed RM220 million worth of works for the three major roads and had received one parcel of state land (spanning 3.67 acres) worth RM135 million.” The SPV chairman further noted that the transfer of the parcel meant ‘some RM100 million’ had yet to be settled by the state government.
To understand where the ‘RM100 million’ estimate fits in, one needs to first examine the total cost involved in completing the various studies and designs associated with the overall project, the breakdown of which is as follows:
Three main roads:
Feasibility study: RM31.2 million
Detailed design: RM177.4 million
Overall: RM208.7 million
Feasibility study: RM20 million
Detailed design: RM76.2 million
Grand Total: RM304.9 million
Now, assuming Zarul’s estimates were legit, one immediately sees how the state government still owed the SPV RM73.7 million for studies and designs related to the paired roads and RM2o million for studies related to the tunnel itself. However, the debt was ‘written-off’ the minute Guan Eng decided to open his mouth. On the 17th of January 2018, the Chief Minister announced that the state government had settled payments worth RM208 million via the same 3.67-acre land-swap deal Zarul spoke of, meaning, the SPV chairman’s estimates no longer applied.
Under the circumstances, the state government effectively paid costs associated with the paired roads and only ‘owed’ RM20 million for studies related to the tunnel. The fact that Zarul did not have anything to say about this supports the idea that the Chief Minister was telling us the truth. But it is what Guan Eng said a week earlier that had everyone up in arms.
On the 11th of January 2018, the Chief Minister told newsmen that the state had “not paid a single sen” for feasibility studies related to the tunnel.
“We only swapped two pieces of land with the development value of RM1,300 psf for 3.7 acres of land which comes up to RM208 million,” he told a press conference at his office that day.
But his exco seemed to think differently.
Payment to Consortium Zenith: RM208.75 million
Payment to independent consultant: RM11.23 million
Overall: RM219.99 million
Then, on the 2nd of November 2017, a state assembly sitting was told that RM11.23 million was paid in cash to HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd, an independent consultant hired by the state government to evaluate the tunnel project. But wasn’t it Guan Eng who announced that the state had “not paid a single sen” for feasibility studies related to the tunnel?
If so, then, was the payment to HSS for?
Do you now see why there isn’t a need for anyone to sabotage anything? From the way things are going, Lim Guan Eng is doing a hell of a job sabotaging himself, and in the process, the RM6.3 billion tunnel project which nobody really needs!
(edited at 12.20 pm, 1/2/18)
News item by MMO:
KUALA LUMPUR: Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng today demanded MCA’s Datuk Wee Ka Siong to specify alleged corrupt practices in the state’s undersea tunnel deal.
He said the onus was on Wee to speak up if the latter’s contention was only that the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) was not a shareholder, but the main contractor in the RM6.3 billion project.
“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?” he said in a statement.
Lim also questioned the purpose of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating the deal when Wee, who is a minister in the prime minister’s department, no longer claimed corruption involving the DAP-led state government.
“There is nothing to hide nor fear when the project is granted through an open competitive tender by the Penang Tender Committee,” he said.
Lim then claimed MACC’s probe was none other than to tarnish his administration in the run-up to the 14th general election.
He explained that the project was a tripartite agreement involving the state government, Zenith consortium as the shareholder and CRCC as the main contractor.
It was reported that CRCC had confirmed that it was not a shareholder or a developer of the special purpose vehicle, but was instead a contractor in the agreement.
“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,” Lim said.
Wee had also previously claimed that the special purpose vehicle involved in the project had only RM300,000 of paid up capital before the tender was opened.
So far, MACC has detained three suspects in connection with its ongoing investigation in the case.
The project that was scheduled for completion in April 2016 is yet to begin.
Lim, meanwhile, had blamed this on “sabotage” and “interference”, indicating that it was difficult to comply with Putrajaya’s standards to kick off the project.
Source: The Malay Mail Online