Malaysiakini News

On 'crooked bridge’ and vengeance, according to Puad

Published:  |  Modified:

Pakatan Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad's scathing comments on Budget 2018 was reflective of his vengeance towards Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, said Special Affairs Department (Jasa) director-general Mohd Puad Zakarshi.

One of the main reasons for Mahathir's wrath, according to Puad, was the former's failure to lobby for the reinstatement of the "crooked bridge" project which would have benefited cronies.

In a Facebook post today, Puad alleged that Mahathir had sought the former's help to secure a meeting with top Johor Umno leaders sometime soon after Najib became prime minister.

At the time, Johor Umno was led by Abdul Ghani Othman, who agreed to the meeting which eventually took place at the Pullman Hotel in Putrajaya.

"During the meeting, Mahathir said he met Najib and had requested that the 'crooked bridge' project be resumed, after it was scrapped by the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration.

"Mahathir told us that Najib had no problems (with the proposal) on the condition that Johoreans wanted it. Mahathir had hoped that Johor Umno's approval would be interpreted as support from Johoreans.

"Abdul Ghani had promised Mahathir to raise the issue during the Johor Umno leadership meets," said Puad, who was formerly Abdul Ghani's political secretary and former Johor Umno information chief.

This promise, according to Puad, was never kept.

"The matter was never discussed at the Johor Umno leadership meeting, which indirectly meant Johor Umno rejected the idea.

"Among other reasons, there were members who believed that if the project went ahead, the contract would end up with the same compoany - Gerbang Perdana - which is a Mahathir crony," said Puad.

Gerbang Perdana was awarded a RM1.1 billion contract in 2003, during Mahathir's final year as prime minister, to build a bridge to Singapore which was supposed to replace the Causeway.

However, the project was eventually called off by the Abdullah administration.

Following this, Gerbang Perdana had sought RM360 million in compensation from Putrajaya, although only RM247 million was paid.

Puad said Gerbang Perdana had already been handsomely compensated and it would be a waste if they were allowed to resume the contract, especially since it was not a critical one.

According to Puad, the fact was that Johor Umno had rejected Mahathir's "crooked bridge" and "crony capitalism."

"It is clear that Najib tries to make people happy, while Mahathir is upset because Najib did not agree to crony capitalism.

"This is why Mahathir is vengeful," said Puad.

At the time of writing, Mahathir's office has yet to respond to requests for comments.

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