KUALA LUMPUR: A favourable financing rate is not a justifiable excuse for not carrying out a proper tender exercise, says Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.
“A financing rate 2 per cent lower than other parties would never justify a 130 per cent increase in the cost of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project,” he added, in a statement.
If Prime Minister Najib Razak or Treasury Secretary-General Irwan Serigar Abdullah thought it justified, he stressed, they should be sacked. “Obviously, they failed their mathematics in primary school,” he said.
Pua said the people feared that the real reason why the RM55 billion ECRL project had been awarded to China at grossly inflated prices was to hide future illegal money flows from the opaque Chinese companies.
The DAP national publicity secretary added: “These flows may be to 1MDB creditors such as International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC).”
IPIC, he reminded, was suing 1MDB for a massive USD6.5 billion. “The ECRL project was originally estimated to cost RM30 billion.”
“As exposed by the Sarawak Report in July, we fear the ‘excess’ from the inflated Chinese contract will be siphoned in a pre-arranged but illegal manner to bail out 1MDB,” reiterated the MP.
Pua urged Najib to explain to the people why he had forsaken transparency and accountability in awarding the ECRL project to a Chinese company.
He said Irwan informed the media two days ago that Malaysia and China would sign the Framework Financing Agreement and Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) Contract for the project on Tuesday.
Irwan was in Beijing from Monday as part of the delegation accompanying the prime minister on a six-day visit to the Chinese capital.
“Irwan tried to pre-empt questions on the project by claiming the financing offered by China was a lower rate compared with the international market, coupled with a long repayment period of 20 years,” said Pua.
The people are stunned that such a mega-project was being awarded without any form of transparency and competitive tender, he said.
At RM55 billion, the 600km ECRL will cost a monstrous RM91.7 million per kilometre to construct, estimated Pua. “That would mean that the ECRL will cost 108 per cent and 130 per cent more than the northern and southern double-tracking projects respectively.”