PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli said he is looking forward to being sued over his Expo Negaraku claims, as it would give him an opportunity to seek answers from the minister in charge.
Referring to the legal notice that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan said he has served the Pandan MP, Rafizi said such cases would help elucidate the legal precedents with regard to statements of public interest.
“Therefore a chance to once again appear in court in Rahman Dahlan's case will allow the laws surrounding how a (member of parliament) such as I can go about with my job, and refine and strengthen it further,” said Rafizi in a statement today.
He said he and his lawyers will arm themselves with “various interesting questions” to ask the minister when they enter the courtroom in the eventuality of a hearing.
Among these, he said, was for Rahman to explain what the RM37 million cost for the month-long expo was for.
“Up till now he has not explained why the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) under his care has spent up to RM37 million (for the event), when the federal government is in a (financial) state where it needs to collect goods and services tax (GST) and chase every person and company to collect income tax owing from years ago,” he said.
Rafizi also asked why the minister has not responded to his allegation the contract for the expo was not recorded in the government procurement system.
“Until today, he has not answered why,” he said.
'Suit a smokescreen'
On Tuesday, Sinar Harian reported Rafizi claiming he was unable to find a record of the tender award through the government online procurement system myprocurement.
He also erroneously claimed the contractor Raslan Dahlan, the CEO of Pico Integrated Exhibits (M) Sdn Bhd, was Rahman's brother.
Rafizi has since apologised for the error, but accused the minister's lawsuit of being an attempt to deflect attention from the real issue of the cost and award of the expo contract.
Rahman meanwhile admitted this week the cost was indeed RM37 million, but did not address questions of the alleged lack of tender, saying he would do so at a later date.
“So, he (Rahman) can talk big outside, but when he enters the witness stand later, he will be asked and he will be bound by court rules to answer, questions about the big issues (surrounding the expo) that he is trying to avoid,” he said.
He added that the minister could well use his funds to assist flood victims in his own constituency of Kota Belud, instead of filing a lawsuit.