Under fire for ministry’s directly awarded contract, Tony Pua latest to rebuke Zuraida

Damansara MP Tony Pua speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 5, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Damansara MP Tony Pua speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 5, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Augt 30 — Damansara MP Tony Pua has chided Local Government and Housing Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin’s attempt at shifting the blame to former finance minister Lim Guan Eng for a RM501,206 contract to maintain financial and accounting systems.

Responding to Zuraida’s statement where she claimed that Lim was the one who approved the direct negotiation to Century Software (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd to maintain financial and accounting systems, Pua said Lim had not involved himself in any negotiations with the aforementioned company, as claimed by Zuraida.

Instead, Pua said the contract had been listed under the projects inherited from the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration totalling RM1.753 billion that was offered during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

“Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin need not throw her accusations everywhere, blaming others to cover up her own weaknesses and mistakes,” he said in a statement here.

Dispelling the accusations, Pua said Zuraida would have come across the Accountant General’s Circular Letter number 3 year 2018 which stipulates the requirement for complying with government accounting standards through the Standard Accounting System For Government Agencies (SAGA) if she had really conducted a transparent and thorough investigation.

A copy of the circular letter was made available along with Pua’s statement.

Pua said the circular clearly stated that through the Public Administration Development Circular number 1 year 2011, the government had agreed for an accounting and financial system that complied with existing standards to be used for government agencies.

“In 2012, the implementation of SAGA was submitted by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) to the Accountant General’s Department of Malaysia. 

“Subsequently, the implementation and compliance procedure for SAGA was first issued through the Accountant General of Malaysia Circular Letter number 6 year 2014,” he said.

He reiterated his call for Zuraida not to simply lob accusations at Lim and attempt to link him to any sort of direct negotiations involving her ministry. 

“I believe Zuraida’s irresponsible attitude in blaming others for her own mismanagement within her ministry is evident of someone who is at fault,” he said.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz disclosed last week 101 directly negotiated projects worth RM6.6 billion from PH’s time in power.

PH’s rivals initially used the disclosure to claim the coalition reneged on an election promise, but PH leaders have seized on the fact that most were either executed during BN’s rule or initiated prior to the general election and paid out after.

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