Amid uproar, ex-deputy minister says Pakatan never promised to abolish direct negotiations

Sim speaks during the National Economic Forum 2019 in Kuala Lumpur August 29, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Sim speaks during the National Economic Forum 2019 in Kuala Lumpur August 29, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — Amid heightened furore after accusations over the purported awarding of projects via direct negotiations, a former deputy minister said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) never promised to abolish the said practice.

Former deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister Sim Tze Tzin took to Facebook last night to explain that his coalition had only promised a “widespread and transparent open tender process”.

“PH never promised to abolish direct negotiations. We promised a widespread and transparent open tender process. Please read it yourself.

“That is why we succeeded in reducing direct negotiations to only 1.4 per cent.

“Smart rakyat would be able to differentiate the good governance between PH, PN and BN,” he said, referring to Perikatan Nasional and Barisan Nasional as the latter two parties.

He then shared an excerpt from the PH manifesto, in which the now Opposition coalition promised to reform the government’s acquisition process.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz had in his winding-up speech on the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)) Bill 2020 on Monday, made the claim that 101 projects had been awarded by the PH government through direct negotiations, triggering calls for the list to be released.

The minister released the list of projects yesterday, with the Defence, Home Affairs, and Communications and Multimedia Ministries trailing the Ministry of Transport, in terms of project value awarded through direct negotiations.

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