TTF: On the 23rd of January 2018, Lim Guan Eng questioned the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over its ‘failure’ to probe the RM55 billion ECRL project. According to him, the ECRL deal failed to meet procurement guidelines as it was negotiated directly with the developer. Lim accused the anti-graft agency of practising double standards by scrutinising the RM6.3 billion Penang Undersea Tunnel (PUT) project instead.
But here’s the thing – the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) awarded the PUT project was short of almost the entire RM381 million sum required to qualify for it at the time of award. On the 27th of February 2018, the MCA’s Dato’ Wee Ka Siong went on record to say that the company’s paid-up capital, despite having ballooned to RM26.5 million, was grossly insufficient to cover even the RM305 million the SPV paid consultants to produce mere pieces of paper.
“Given these shocking admissions by the SPV company that it did not qualify for the RM381 million minimum paid-up capital and will eventually reach that amount given enough time, it is no longer possible for Lim to deny that procurement guidelines were not met.”
The ECRL SPV is 100% MoF owned. The one awarded the PUT project, on the other hand, belongs entirely to a bunch of fund-deprived entities that refused to come clean on stake-holding. Guan Eng convinced the people that the previous Barisan Nasional government broke procurement guidelines by awarding the ECRL project through direct negotiations. What he failed to mention, however, was that the project was a government-to-government deal involving a China state-owned entity.
To convince voters that his administration was clean, Lim insisted that the PUT project also involved a government-to-government deal signed with a China state-owned entity. However, it was later discovered that the so called entity, CRCC, never held stakes in the SPV and was even forced to cease work after having only received 5% (or a little over RM3mil) in payment from their RM69mil contract.
But that’s not all.
The SPV started construction less than six months from the day it was awarded the project. The one involved with PUT, however, had not even begun earthworks five years into the project despite having paid consultants a ridiculous amount of money for mere pieces of paper. Yet, Guan Eng had the cheek to accuse the MACC of practising double standards and the Barisan Nasional government of breaking procurement guidelines.
And today, he’s telling you that the cost to complete the ECRL project is exorbitant and needs to be cut down (see news item below). If indeed that were to be the case, is he finally going to come clean on the millions in kickbacks his men from the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) received via the pre-sale of state land worth RM2.83 billion and development of luxury high-rises worth RM800 million?
KUALA LUMPUR: The controversial China-backed East Coast Railway Line (ECRL) project has been given a reprieve from the government as RM20 billion of the project cost has already been paid, subject to a re-negotiation of the price tag, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told online news portal The Malaysian Insight.
Earlier the PH Government had announced plans to scrap the project because of its exorbitant cost of RM60-RM70 billion, which various estimates claimed could be completed for under RM40 billion.
Lim was also quoted as saying in the interview with the news portal that the government was “still undecided” on whether to proceed or defer the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR).
Prior to further discussion with Singapore, Lim said the Attorney-General had been tasked to investigate the legal aspects of the projects.
“In the ECRL, we have already paid RM20 billion. So it doesn’t really make sense to just scrap it because we’ve already paid RM20 billion,” Lim reportedly said.
Lim, however, could not reveal the terms of the ECRL contract and how much recduction in cost the government was trying to negotiate.
“Let us discuss this first. We cannot have these discussions in public. The negotiations have to be done behind closed doors.”
In an earlier media report Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described the ECRL project as a strange contract, as Malaysia has to fund the project with a loan from China, while also hiring contractors from China, as opposed to drawing down the loan in Malaysia and paying it to the foreign company’s local subsidiary.
Source: NST Online