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Wee should stop hounding state sec Farizan for mileage on tunnel

ADUN SPEAKS | MCA Minister Wee Ka Siong is a despicable human being for running down an honest senior government civil servant, Penang state secretary Farizan Darus, with lies that Farizan knowingly chose the Zenith Consortium group of companies to carry out the tunnel and three main road projects despite Zenith not fulfilling the RM381 million minimum paid-up capital requirement.

Wee is bullying and picking on Farizan because he knows that Farizan is helpless to reply. As a government officer under the Public Services Department, Farizan cannot refute a federal government minister like Wee even though Wee is dead wrong.

I have checked with Farizan, who stated unequivocally that when the Penang state tender committee, headed by Farizan, awarded the project to Zenith, Zenith had more than fulfilled the RM381 million minimum paid-up capital threshold. Farizan’s job would not only be on the line if what Farizan said is not true, but he will also be subjected to more severe legal action.

Wee finds it hard to admit that BN and himself are barking up the wrong tree. There is no corruption by the Penang state government, since the project is conducted by open tender and awarded by the state tender committee headed by the Penang state secretary. Instead, if any money to the tune of millions of ringgit had been paid out, it is not the Penang state government leaders but pro-BN and Umno leaders who have appeared to have benefited.

Wee should stop hounding Farizan out of sheer frustration that MCA is unable to pin DAP or the Penang state government for corruption.

Simply, we are clean and do not steal or makan dedak. There is no point replying to Wee’s new lies when he has not responded to my challenges to his old lies.

Respond first

If Wee is not a coward, he should respond to my statement three weeks ago on 1February 14, as follows:

“MCA Minister Wee Ka Siong’s desperate attempts to justify his 10 lies with more lies on the three main roads and tunnel project will not work, because you can lie to some of the people some of the time, you can lie to all the people some of the time, but you can not lie to all the people all the time. Even whilst clinging desperately to his lies, Wee continues to make new ones, such as the winning consortium Zenith securing a 110-acre prime land approved for high-density luxury condominiums despite the many delays in the proposed project.

“This is false because the 110 acres of net developed land has not been transferred to Zenith. Where is it stated that there is approval for high-density luxury condominiums? How then can there be approval for high-density luxury condominiums when the land has not even been transferred?

“Further, who caused the delays [in the tunnel project], when federal government agencies changed their rules and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has carried out investigations since 2016? The unduly long MACC investigations has not only delayed, but harassed government staff that required unnecessary and repetitive checks. With the latest attack by BN to sabotage the entire project, doubts have been expressed about the commitment of all parties involved and whether the project is still viable.”

Wee’s latest “10 lies” article then spirals down to further depths of falsehoods of bare-faced denials by him. For instance, he claimed that he had never insinuated that a fashion company, Vertice Bhd, was building the Penang tunnel when he knew that China Railway Construction Corporation(CRCC) was clearly the main contractor. Wee should refer to MCA’s own paper, The Star on January 13, which highlighted Wee’s lies: “Dr Wee: Why is a fashion company building the Penang Tunnel?

So Wee’s own party newspaper has caught out Wee for lying. Wee also denied BN’s involvement in MACC investigations and allegations of corruption, of kickbacks of millions of ringgit allegedly being paid to state government leaders in this project. Has Wee so quickly forgotten that the BN media had put it up in the front pages? (see New Straits Times, January 20)

Wee denies that MCA president Liow Tiong Lai abused his power as transport minister to pressure CRCC, which Wee and BN had first dragged into this political controversy. And yet in the same breath, Wee admits that Liow got CRCC to “provide” information through his responsibilities as transport minister, even though the Malaysian government is not a party to the Penang contract.

Do it ECRL-style?

Perhaps the Penang state government should have carried out a direct tender like the RM55 billion ECRL project to avoid any harrassment form MACC?

Wee claims that there is no need for an open tender for the RM55 billion East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) project, that is 9 times bigger than the RM6.3 billion tunnel and three main roads project, because the ECRL was a government-to-government (G2G) project. Is the Penang project not a G2G project too, when it is undertaken by a China government-owned company and the memorandum of understanding (MOU) was witnessed by both the prime minister of Malaysia and the premier of China on April 28, 2011?

Despite that, the Penang state government had insisted that an open tender be conducted in contrast to the ECRL. If the Penang state government had known that MACC would only investigate projects conducted under open tenders and not under direct tender, then perhaps we should have done the project under direct tender to avoid any harassment, even just before Chinese New Year.

Again Wee tried to drag the Penang state secretary into this political fight by claiming that the paid up capital of the consortium that won the tender did not fulfil the minimum paid up capital (PUC) requirement of RM381 million. He even claimed that when awarding the tender, the state secretary acted under instructions from the chief minister.

This is an outrageous and preposterous lie. The state secretary is the chairman of the Penang state tender board and has carried out his duties according to the letter of the law. He received no benefit in granting the tender to Zenith. Zenith fulfilled the minimum PUC requirement of RM381 million. The Penang tender board granted the tender based on the merits of the tender, and not as Wee alleged. It is unscrupulous for Wee to try to drag the state secretary down just because Wee is unable to prove that there was hanky-panky in the award of the project by open tender.

I do not intend to explain at length to Wee that that you do not need to stamp every page of a contractual document nor justify that any document attached to the main agreement is part of that agreement. CRCC is mentioned in the main agreement and signed the main agreement as a party to the contract, as well as gave an additional signed commitment to ensure completion of the project that is attached to the agreement. Any person buying a house would know that any document attached to the agreement is part of the main agreement. Perhaps Wee better get a lawyer to give him some tuition classes.

Finally I would like to repeat that the state government had not paid a single cent or given a single square inch of land to either Zenith or the contractor for the tunnel. Payment has been made only for the three main roads. For Wee to continue to claim that the state government has paid to either Zenith or the contractor for the tunnel is just sheer dishonesty.

Clearly both BN and Wee are only interested in sabotaging this public interest project that seeks to alleviate traffic congestion in Penang. It is pointless to respond to Wee when he continues to shamelessly cover up and cling desperately to his 10 lies. We leave it to the people of Penang to judge.

LIM GUAN ENG is Penang chief minister.

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