Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Najib, you didn’t answer Guan Eng’s questions about SSER

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | ‘Why was 88 pct of payments made when only 13 pct of work had been completed?’

SSER fiasco: Everything done by the book, says Najib

Newday: Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) says, "All necessary rules and procedures have been complied with." But were the necessary contract provisions complied with?

One only has to read the previous auditor-general’s annual reports to realise that this practice of progress claims based on pre-determined project timelines versus actual work completed is extremely flawed.

Many projects have been highlighted in which 80 to 90 percent of payments were made when less than 50 percent of the projects were completed.

As a result, there is no onus on the contractor to complete the project on time or to particularly concern themselves with the quality of work as it doesn't matter since they will be paid anyway.

Consequently, many and almost all projects with government links have either not been completed or suffer enormous overruns in contract length.

All these items increase the final project cost. Any adjacent residents or businesses who expect their life to be partially affected for a period of time, find that this is lengthened way beyond their patience.

Moreover, the burden to repay these loans is increased the longer these projects take.

It is just extremely poor practice to structure projects in this way. Zero protection of project, no incentives to complete on time and in many cases, the contractor walked away with 90 percent payment for 20 percent work done and left a lovely mess for someone else to clean up.

So, MO1, proper procedures and accepted contractual requirements have not been followed many times and much money has been wasted and abused in the process.

Anonymous: Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak seems to have digressed from the actual question.

I understand Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng asked him why the government has paid 88 percent of the money when the project completed to date is only 13 percent, and he said it's according to the laws and by the books.

Then Lim asks him why we signed this lopsided agreement, and he answered that it was a big China-owned company.

Nobody would agree to this type of payment unless you have other intentions best known to yourself, and normally such payments are based on work progress and duly certified by a professional quantity surveyor for big projects.

Panorama123: Other trade deals with China and that China’s Premier Li Keqiang witnessed the signing of contracts are separate issues. They were not involved in the negotiation and the details of the contract.

The main issue is, why was 88 percent of payments made when only 13 percent of work had been completed? In addition, these are large, substantial and long-term contracts costing billions of ringgit.

In standard fundamental accounting and taxation concepts, payments for long-term contracts have to be recognised based on the percentage of completion of the projects.

The board of directors, ex-treasury-general and ex-finance minister need to be accountable if they have approved such resolutions and signed contracts with such onerous terms.

SSER - Guan Eng and MACC bound for China

Anonymous_1527761454: Why is Lim travelling to China? This is a waste of time and diminishes the office of the Malaysian finance minister.

What if he is mistreated in China - kept waiting, not met by his Chinese counterpart? And what if the Chinese government says this is a private company matter?

Lim, you're an excellent politician. But leave the operational matter to experts and manage them. If it is a corruption case, why are you going anyway? There are formal procedures.

MasihBerharap: A project that allowed progress payments based on time is pure nonsense. No sane person would do such a thing.

It means when the time is up, you pay 100 percent regardless of the status of the project. It was open knowledge that this was a government-to-government deal negotiated between the highest levels on both sides.

If we are to expect cooperation from the Chinese government and try to get them to reveal all they know, we must send someone of rank who will allow the Chinese to respond at the highest level without loss of face.

I cannot agree with those who commented that Lim should not involve himself in this matter. I only hope that Lim as finance minister is high-ranking enough for the Chinese government to be forthright and frank.

Do the Right Thing: Indeed, in view of the huge amount of money, it is better to bring the investigation to the highest level (government to government), reaching to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has openly declared war on corruption in China.

By bringing the issue to the highest level, Lim and MACC can be protected in terms of security and safety.

The investigation can also be assisted by the Chinese government, making the job easier for the Finance Ministry and MACC.

Otherwise, our government may face all kinds of ‘wayang-wayang’ (shadow play) and stories of "Arab donations".

AnotherKomentar: Lim will show Beijing that unlike the previous administration which indulged in exorbitantly inflated prices, excessive borrowing and kickbacks, the Pakatan Harapan government subscribes to a business-like approach to China investments - clean, fair and win-win for all. Beijing will respect that.

The Malaysian economy complements that of China, more so than many other Southeast Asian countries.

We are the southern frontier of China’s Belt and Road initiative with connections to the vital sea-lanes of the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.

It is essential for China to develop deep and strategic relationships with Malaysia, one that’s based on mutual respect, trust and prosperity. 

Let’s open a new chapter in Malaysia foreign policies. Let’s close the old chapter in which Najib dealt with China as if he owned Malaysia and could sell everything for a song.

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