Corruption in sports ministry? KJ says everything above board

Khairy Jamaluddin says his ministry followed all the rules set by the finance ministry. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin says he is ready to explain decisions made during his tenure after the new deputy minister Steven Sim highlighted alleged corruption in the ministry.

Speaking to reporters at the Dewan Rakyat, Khairy said every decision he made as minister was in accordance with the rules and procedures set by the finance ministry.

“We have responded to the Auditor-General’s Department for everything we were audited on.

“The corruption scandal involving a senior ministry official happened before I became minister and that case is already in court.”

He was responding to Sim’s statement that the ministry ranks among the top 10 most corrupt ministries due to weaknesses in the procurement and payment process.

Sim said between 2016 and 2018, some RM357.80 million worth of projects, out of a total of RM777 million, were awarded via direct negotiations or restricted tenders.

In 2017 alone, the value of procurements made without an open tender came up to RM264.2 million, while those made via open tenders were worth RM173.7 million.

Khairy said in terms of restricted tenders and the like, the ministry under his leadership had followed all finance ministry rules and all documentation was in order.

“I am ready to help the minister and deputy minister explain any doubts they may have and have no issues if any party is to be referred to the Auditor-General’s Department or Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).”

He said in some situations, such as for the SEA Games, the ministry had to opt for Request For Proposals (RFPs) rather than open tenders.

One example of this was the RFP for the opening ceremony, he said. If the ministry had called for an open tender for that based on documents alone, it would not be able to evaluate the creative, artistic and performance aspects which was why many companies were invited to present their proposals, he said.

These proposals were evaluated from financial aspects, the creativity of the proposals and the company’s experience.

“Just because it didn’t go through an open tender didn’t mean there was no stringent evaluation according to the finance ministry’s rules.”

He said even in situations where the ministry opted for RFPs and awarded a contract to the lowest bidder, it didn’t result in the ministry getting the best value. He gave the example of the procurement of the IT (information technology) system for the SEA Games, where the lowest bidder couldn’t deliver.

“So I hope there is no assumption that all of this amounts to corruption. Corruption means there are elements of corruption in the awarding of contracts for all sorts of procurement, be it through open tenders, restricted tenders, RFPs and so on. These are all means of procurement and not proof that corruption happened or not.”

Khairy also spoke on the Corruption Risk Management (CRM) plan, which Sim said was cancelled in May and has since been ordered to be re-introduced.

He said the ministry’s low ranking under the CRM was due to the scandal involving a senior official in the ministry.

Even then, Khairy said the figure wasn’t RM100 million but RM38 million. He added that this case was already in court.

He also said the CRM programme wasn’t stopped by anyone in the ministry but at the instruction of the MACC.

“So the insinuation that there were instructions from the top to stop the CRM is wrong as the instructions came from MACC.

“But I welcome the deputy minister and minister’s efforts to reintroduce the CRM because I believe it is a good system to reduce leakages.”