Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh today expressed shock that the prime minister claimed federal ministers had the right to dish out contracts, saying such a statement was “morally wrong”.
Ramkarpal pointed out that even though Dr Mahathir Mohammad had asserted that he meant contract only in the minister’s own jurisdiction, it can lead to the latter forming the wrong opinion.
“I am unaware of what right he was referring to but even if there were such a right, it is clearly morally wrong for ministers to be giving out contracts, whether within or outside their respective jurisdictions," the DAP national legal bureau chairperson said in a statement.
"It is elementary that such a practice will undoubtedly create a perception of favouritism on the part of the said minister, among others. The concept of open tender is to encourage transparency in the bidding of contracts and to promote competitiveness among bidders to attract only those who perform the best.
"It is aimed at weeding out corruption.”
Ramkarpal, who is also the Parliament Special Select Committee For Consideration of the IPCMC Bill chairperson, reminded that the Pakatan Harapan manifesto had pledged to combat corruption.
Mahathir made the claim yesterday when questioned on a meeting between him and the prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim on Thursday.
The PKR chief had said during the meeting, the premier “had taken cognisance of the allegation that there are cabinet ministers who have abused their powers or are canvassing for political support by giving projects”.
Mahathir, however, did not directly respond when asked if this was linked to PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali’s controversial meeting between Umno parliamentarians at his home on Monday night.
Umno chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said the meeting had been to discuss channelling government projects to the Umno MPs' constituencies.