PM denies RM450 million project awarded via direct negotiation

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today denied that the government had awarded a RM450 million project in Kelantan through direct negotiation, saying it was a continuation of an existing project.

“The company was willing to reduce its cost and it is a continuation of the previous project, so it is not direct negotiation,” the prime minister told reporters after chairing a Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption here.

A letter purportedly from the finance ministry has been making the rounds on the social media, allegedly showing that a project to build Bangunan Gunasama Persekutuan in Kota Bharu was awarded through direct negotiation.

The letter dated July 26, 2019 was allegedly faxed to the Prime Minister’s Department’s senior deputy chief secretary Hasnol Zam Zam Ahmad.

The letter referred to another letter sent by the prime minister two weeks earlier.

On Monday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said he would discuss the matter with Mahathir.

When asked if Lim had spoken to him about the matter, Mahathir said: “Yes, we will talk about it”.

Earlier, Mahathir said there was a need for direct negotiations, but only under certain circumstances.

He gave the example of a situation in which only one company could supply military equipment to the armed forces.

“But they (the relevant ministry) must state the reasons for a direct negotiation and get the finance ministry’s approval,” he added.