KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) has urged the government to disclose the breakdowns of savings made from the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project, amid efforts by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration to fight graft.
Group president Mohamad Mohan said Putrajaya must be transparent about publicly funded projects if it is serious about eradicating entrenched corruption in the public sector.
“For the mega projects like the ECRL, it will be good for the government to make full disclosure on the recently announced savings of RM21.5 billion,” he said in a statement today.
“Even if it was due to over pricing, for transparency it will be good on the part of the government to disclose what was overpriced.”
The government has yet to provide any details on the breakdown of purported savings made from the ECRL apart from the total value of savings, TI-M noted.
The Pakatan Harapan nearly scrapped the Chinese-funded rail link project over claims the deal was inked under dubious conditions, but reversed its decision later following concerns the move would sour ties with Beijing.
After prolonged negotiations, Dr Mahathir’s administration said it managed to cut the cost by RM21.5 billion to RM44 billion. It was originally valued at RM65.5 billion.
The cost-cutting measure was part of wider efforts to plug “leakages” stemming from corruption. Putrajaya claimed reforms have resulted in massive savings.
But Mohamad said there needs to be a system to publicly disclose sources of funding, tenders and expenditure on all labour and materials involved.
“Countries which demonstrates greater transparency and disclosures take proactive measures to counter corruption,” he said.
“Especially in the public sector will tend to do well in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) rankings.”
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir announced several planned anti-graft measures in public procurement processes, that included restricted use of recommendation letters to support project or funding approval.