Wee asks why agri ministry gave RM1.4 bil project through direct negotiations

MCA president Wee Ka Siong says the National Farmers Organisation had lost out in the tender exercise earlier.

KUALA LUMPUR: The opposition bloc has questioned the awarding of a padi farming project worth RM1.4 billion to the National Farmers Organisation (Nafas), claiming it was given through direct negotiations despite Nafas losing out in an initial open tender.

Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) claimed that a minister had made a request to the prime minister, in a letter dated Nov 7, 2019, for Nafas to be appointed for the project for a period of three years, from 2020 to 2022.

He added that the allocation of RM1.4 billion was from the RM1.55 billion allocated for subsidies and incentives in the padi and rice sub-sectors for 2020.

“Please verify this letter. If the letter is false, please make a police report,” Wee told Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub today while debating the 2020 Supply Bill involving the ministry.

Wee wanted Salahuddin to explain why the companies chosen through open tender were neglected, with Nafas chosen instead through direct negotiations.

“Does the awarding of the RM1.4 billion contract to Nafas have to do with the leadership of Nafas whose board of directors, as we all know, comprises leaders of Amanah?”

He also asked Salahuddin why he had involved the prime minister in the awarding of the project.

“Does the minister not trust the decision made by the ministry’s procurement board itself?”