By Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli today released government documents in his bid to prove that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak interfered in the award of the RM1 billion Ampang Line LRT extension project.
In this first episode of his expose against Najib, Rafizi said the project had initially been awarded to Balfour Beatty-Invensys Consortium (Balfour).
However, he went on to accuse Najib of interfering in the matter, so that a consortium led by George Kent Bhd, which allegedly bid a higher price than other bidders, is to get the job.
At a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Rafizi released a purported copy of the minutes of a Jan 25 meeting of the Finance Ministry’s Procurement Committee (JPMK) to prove his point.
The minutes were signed by Najib, who is also finance minister, Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah and Finance Ministry secretary-general Wan Abd Aziz Wan Abdullah.
The minutes state the committee’s decision to reject the proposal of Prasarana, the government-linked company overseeing the LRT extension projects, to award the RM1,012,910,000 contract to PDA Consortium.
Instead, the committee selected Balfour to be the contractor and supplier, the minutes state.
This decision was conveyed to Prasarana in a letter dated Jan 26, written by Fauziah Yaacob, an officer with the Finance Ministry’s procurement division, said Rafizi, who also furnished a copy of this letter.
Rafizi then made the conclusion that it was Najib’s interference that overturned the JPMK decision and landed the extension project in the hands of George Kent.
He said he would release more documents in the coming days and next week to back his allegation.
Although the awarding of the tender has yet to be officially announced, Rafizi cited a report published in Business Times on Jan 22 that said George Kent is tipped to win the bid and that an official announcement would be made soon.
According to the official documents, the tender outlines two items. One is for a system contractor for the engineering, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of system works for the Ampang (AMG) line extension project, which is worth RM949,162,000.
The other is a contract for the supply of Train Borne Equipment for Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) and for a LRV modification contract worth RM63,748,000.
PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, who was also present at the press conference, pointed out that the Business Times report, which says the contract is worth only RM960 million, was misleading and an attempt to state that George Kent won the bid at a lower price.
Four areas for Najib to answer
Instead, George Kent’s bidding price was one of the highest among all bidders, Saifuddin said, adding that he was in possession of all the bidding documents and that these details would be disclosed soon.
Rafizi then called on Najib to respond to four issues:
1. Why was George Kent so confident in winning the contract, as reported by the media recently, even though the award of the contract had been decided on Jan 25?
2. Najib must deny that he had signed the JPMK decision paper if the document I showed today is false.
3. Najib must explain the reason for changing his mind to the extent of interfering to reject the earlier decision on the tender award that he had jointly agreed to.
4. Najib must convince Malaysians that his interference in the awarding of the tender for the project has completely no element of corruption or abuse.
PKR will also lodge a police report against Najib on Friday, Rafizi added.
According to Business Times, the George Kent consortium includes China Railway Construction Corp and Tewet GmbH, a project management consultancy.
George Kent was established in 1936 and is a leader in mechanical and electrical engineering. For the fiscal year 2011, George Kent posted a pre-tax profit of RM26.2 million on a revenue of RM152.3 million.
Tenders for the systems contract for the Ampang LRT line extension closed on June 16, 2011, and eight consortiums had made the bids. – Mkini