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Umno bloggers scapegoating MoF official

 | August 15, 2012

PKR claims that Umno bloggers, with the blessings of the party leadership, are targetting a senior officer in the Ministry of Finance over the Ampang LRT line extension fiasco.

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PETALING JAYA: PKR claimed today that Umno bloggers are attempting to make a top official involved in the controversial Ampang LRT line extension project (LEP) a scapegoat in accusing her as the whistleblower.

The party’s women’s wing chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said there is an alleged concerted effort by Umno’s top leadership to link Fauziah Yaacob to the leaked documents which have provided PKR with fodder against the Najib administration.

Fauziah is a senior officer in the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) Procurement Committee which was responsible for awarding the RM1.8 billion job to a consortium belonging to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s “golf buddy”.

Zuraida, together with the party’s strategy director Rafizi Ramli, the main man behind the series of allegations made on the matter, denied that Fauziah is the person behind the leaked documents.

“The action by Umno bloggers which is widely known to have the endorsement of Umno’s leadership shows they have complete disrespect for public officers who are only performing their duty,” she told reporters at the party’s headquarters here.

In defence of Najib, Umno blogs like “Sangkakalajari9″ and “Jebat Must Die” dismissed opposition allegations that the prime minister had interfered with the contract award process while one blog, “The Unspinners”, claimed Fauziah was the opposition’s informer.

In a posting dated Aug 13, the Unspinners posted a picture  of Fauziah and claimed she leaked the the documents out of spite after the MoF had decided against awarding the contract to a consortium linked to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Character assassination

The consortium in question is Balfour Beatty, a British engineering firm, who was the initial winner of LEP, according to official documents showed by Rafizi. Fauziah was alleged to have defended the MoF’s initial move to award the job to Balfour.

Jebat Must Die claimed the firm’s partner, Ingress Corp Bhd, is helmed by Anwar’s high-school friend Rameli Musa. He was also said to be a fellow trustee of a foundation headed  by the opposition leader.

Leaked official documents showed that the decision was later reversed and the MoF had decided to award the contract to the George Kent consortium instead. Rafizi claimed it was done under Najib’s instruction.

Although it initially denied, Syarikat Prasarana Bhd (Prasarana), the project and asset owner for the LEP, earlier this month confirmed in a statement that the contract had been given to the George Kent-Lion Pacific joint venture.

Zuraida said the attack by Umno blogs on Fauziah was aimed at intimidating public officials. The first-term Ampang MP also said the allegations made against Fauziah was a “character assassination” attempt on a respected female official.

“If it is true that she had defended the decision to uphold the initial decision to award the contract to a consortium that led in the evaluation process, she should be promoted,” she said.

George Kent, a firm specialising in water logistics, was alleged to have failed the project’s technical evaluation with the lowest point. The firm later denied the accusation and said it was more than capable of realising the LEP. A business daily, however, was quoted as saying that the consortium will likely outsource as much as 80% of the project.


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