Guan Eng: PM Ismail Sabri must come clean on Sabah pipeline projects

DAP’s Lim Guan Eng speaks during the oral question and answer session at Dewan Negara October 7, 2021.  ― Bernama pic
DAP’s Lim Guan Eng speaks during the oral question and answer session at Dewan Negara October 7, 2021. ― Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob must come clean on the continuation of the RM9.4 billion Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) and Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) projects, urged DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

In a statement today, Lim questioned the need for the current government to continue the projects that were scrapped by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in 2018 due to alleged financial improprieties.

Both were later revived by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and now carried over to Ismail Sabri’s administration.

Lim went on to explain that the projects were scrapped by PH as they were allegedly part of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s legacy of financial mismanagement.

“The question remains why the Muhyiddin Yassin did not take any action against the perpetrators of such an extraordinary and humongous financial wrongdoing in paying billions of ringgit for work not done with 88 per cent payout for 13 per cent of unaudited progressive work done.

“Even if the previous government had decided to revive and continue with the two projects, those who were involved in betraying the country’s financial interests must not be allowed to go unpunished. PH had decided that as a matter of policy that any savings generated from projects will be returned to the Ministry concerned or respective states where the project was implemented.

“This would mean that the billions of ringgits that could be saved from these two projects will be returned to the states involved in the form of much-needed roads, water and infrastructure projects.

“Prime Minister Ismail Sabri must come clean with his role in the previous administration and  set a new course to ensure that not only the financial interest of the country is protected but those involved in swindling their own country with such traitorous acts be severely punished.

Failure to do so would show that Ismail Sabri is no different from his predecessors in closing

a blind eye and even trying to cover up such financial crimes,” he said.

In 2016, under Najib’s administration, Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd (SSER), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, was mandated to undertake the MPP and TSGP projects.

The projects, with a total construction cost of RM9.4 billion, were awarded to China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau on November 1, 2016.

Lim, who is also the former finance minister, further explained that there are additional costs to the projects that were still unaccounted for on top of the RM9.4 billion.

“The contracts worth RM9.4 billion have not taken into account the cost related to land acquisition, two expert consultancy agreements and a maintenance agreement, which would comprise a total additional cost of RM1.7 billion.

“These two projects are one of the most preposterous financial scandals of the Najib administration in that SSER has paid RM8.3 billion, or 88 per cent of the project’s construction value of RM9.4 billion, even though progressive work completion (that has not been audited) is only at 13 per cent.

“The 662km TSGP would have stretched from the Kimanis Gas Terminal to Sandakan and Tawau. The 600km MPP, meanwhile, would have connected various petrochemical projects in Malacca and Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan to Jitra, Kedah,’’ he said.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz revealed the continuation of the project in a parliamentary written reply to Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin on the status of the government’s discussion with China on compensation for the cancelled TSGP and MPP projects.

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