Probe rail deal linked to transport minister

L Michael

Modified 18 Nov 2009, 9:10 am

As a Malaysian taxpayer, I feel the need and right to write about a potentially unethical and corrupt deal involving Ferrocarriles de Vía Estrecha (FEVE) the state-owned railway company in Spain and certain individuals in the Transport Ministry of Malaysia.

I am sure your readers must be aware of the above-stated deal as the Malaysian newspapers have carried reports regarding the discrepancies of the purchase of diesel multiple units by the Transport Ministry from FEVE, although claims of impropriety was denied by the minister-in-charge.

We all know that the Transport Ministry of Malaysia have officially announced that they had purchased it for RM30 million using the discretionary powers afforded to its minister.

I have been forwarded documents through an anonymous source via e-mail to confirm that Costa Rica had purchased the same units for RM10 million or at about two million euros. This is from the publication called ‘Railway Gazette’.

For the record, the minister defended himself by saying that the cost was a combination of maintenance charges and affirmed in the press that the Finance Ministry had approved the deal.

Despite this, the fact that our units cost RM20 million more than usual must be investigated. It is even more serious as the minister had used his discretionary powers to push the deal through.

In fact, the Spanish government must also be asked to conduct its own investigations as it will be illegal and unacceptable if FEVE has made a corrupt profit in the sale at the expense of Malaysian taxpayers.

I hope the authorities will pursue this issue as it always does in when it comes to possible matters of corruption.