Corruption claims ‘ridiculous lies’, says Guan Eng

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says the contract for the Penang undersea tunnel and roads project was awarded following an open tender.

GEORGE TOWN: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today rubbished claims that he was involved in a corruption scandal in connection with the undersea tunnel and roads project in Penang, calling them “ridiculous lies”.

He said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also called the allegations on the blog a lie, while the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had lodged a police report against the blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin.

“I think in Penang, you all know this (project) was conducted through an open tender.

“So, how can there be corruption when there is an open tender?” the former chief minister told reporters after opening the “I Love Penang” run here this morning.

Lim said the previous Barisan Nasional administration had also investigated the project and did not take any action.

It was reported that key officials in the project were arrested but were not charged.

Lim said even a PAS leader made a similar allegation against him but later withdrew his statement in court.

“There was a suit by me against PAS’ Nasrudin (Hassan Tantawi) after he made a similar allegation and he withdrew his statement, expressed regret and even paid me legal fees of RM10,000.

“Those who try to raise this matter must not only look at the facts but this court case as well … you got to take this into account,” he said.

Raja Petra had recently published several blog posts on the MACC investigation papers into the tunnel and roads project, estimated to cost RM6.3 billion.

Lim and several state executive councillors were implicated in the investigations, according to these blog posts.

Lim sued Nasrudin for his statement over the project on Facebook, titled “Apa Beza Kidex dan Penang Tunnel” (What’s the difference between Kidex and the Penang Tunnel) dated Aug 6, 2014.

In that post, Nasrudin questioned why then Selangor menteri besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim was condemned in connection with the Kinrara-Damansara Highway Project (Kidex) while Lim was spared the brickbats in the construction of the project, which Nasrudin claimed was awarded via direct negotiation.

A consent judgment was reached on Jan 19, 2016, where Lim dropped the suit against Nasrudin after the PAS leader agreed to retract his baseless statement” against the then chief minister.

The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect George Town’s Pangkor Road and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth. It will be built at least 20m below the seabed.