PETALING JAYA: Continuing to defend the appointment of the fuel company linked to the prime minister’s son, Putrajaya said Petron Fuel International had applied to become fuel providers for government vehicles two years ago.
In a statement, the finance ministry (MoF) said Petron applied to the then Barisan Nasional government to become fuel providers in 2016 and 2017 and to do so via indent cards.
The ministry said the fact that negotiations began under former prime minister Najib Razak’s leadership showed that there was no issue in considering Petron’s participation.
“The Federal government is merely continuing the internal process based on existing guidelines,” the statement read.
It said the application was never referred to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad or Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and therefore there was no political interference.
MoF was responding to criticisms by Najib and PAS on Petron’s appointment last week, with the former Umno president saying it raised “moral questions”.
PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, meanwhile, had said it reeked of nepotism.
Mirzan Mahathir is among the board members of the Philippines-based Petron Corporation, although in 2013 it said that Mirzan did not have any shares or a role in its Malaysian operations.
The ministry also said that Petron’s application did not cost Putrajaya anything, and it did not require MoF’s approval.
“The appointment to the panel of fuel providers was done in a transparent manner and it is not linked to any politician.”
Putrajaya previously said that Petron’s appointment would create better competition among fuel companies.
Apart from Petron, the other fuel providers are Shell and Petronas.