KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — State Investment, Trade, and Mobility Committee chairman Ng Sze Han today said the Demand Responsive Transit (DRT) pilot project awarded to a company linked to the husband of Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh was made based on the ability of companies that had passed the initial screening by Land Public Transport Agency (APAD).

Ng said the companies were then given approval to participate in the proof of concept.

“Referring to the question of why Ram Ramachandaran, who is the husband of Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, was awarded the state government contract, it is important to state that the assessment by the Committee was made based on the ability of companies that had passed the initial screening by APAD and were then given approval to participate in the proof of concept.

“In addition to that, another company associated with experienced Malay business figures in this industry, namely Badan Bus Coach Sdn Bhd, which was founded by Tan Sri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, was also given the same opportunity to strengthen the public transport efforts of the state government which intends to provide van and minibus services to the people of Selangor at reasonable prices and costs.

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“In relation to that, at the beginning of this month, the state government received a proposal from another company that intends to be involved in the proof-of-concept process, namely Kumpool Sdn Bhd, who has received approval from APAD to participate in the proof of concept,” he said in a statement.

Ng then said that the pilot project did not involve direct negotiations.

Instead, Ng said that the involvement of the companies participating in the proof of concept was decided through a Request-for-Proposal (RFP) process.

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“First, the view that only one company is involved, which is Asia Mobiliti Sdn Bhd is not true. In fact, there are two companies involved in the bus-on-demand proof of concept process in Selangor, namely Asia Mobiliti Sdn Bhd and Badan Bus Coach Sdn Bhd.

“Secondly, the involvement process of the two companies participating in the proof of concept was done through a Request-for-Proposal (RFP) process and not direct negotiations as claimed by a few parties,” he said in a statement.

Ng said the decision to involve only these two companies, namely Asia Mobiliti and Badan Bus, was taken because the Selangor state government took steps to start the process.

“In this bus-on-demand proof of concept, only two companies were given a licence to participate in the proof of concept by the federal agency, APAD.

“APAD’s task is to set conditions and guidelines so that companies participating in this proof of concept can meet the standards set,” he said.

Among APAD’s conditions are having their own fleet of minibuses or vans, vehicle age limit not exceeding 10 years, drivers with a valid class D and free from the blacklist of the Road Transport Department and the police.

There have been several calls to investigate Yeoh’s husband who co-founded Asia Mobiliti Sdn Bhd, one of two companies contracted to provide a DRT system in Selangor, for a potential conflict of interest.

Asia Mobiliti has rejected allegations of foul play in getting the contract, saying the claims are baseless and malicious.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has conducted preliminary investigations and found no signs of power abuse or conflict of interest involving Yeoh.

Its chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki told the media yesterday that the decision to award the contract is up to the Selangor menteri besar and not Yeoh, who is no longer a state assemblyman.

He also added that further investigations can be conducted if there is any new lead to prove conflict of interest.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has also weighed in and said investigations can be conducted if the authorities see a need to do so, as the public deserves a proper explanation of the tender process.

The Selangor government announced the appointment of Asia Mobiliti and the second DRT provider, Badan Bas Coach Sdn Bhd, at a public forum organised by the Selangor state government with Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam and Menteri Besar Selangor Incorporated on June 15, 2023.

The Selangor Mobiliti brand logo and zone announcement at the Selangor Smart City and Digital Economy Convention was later revealed on October 20, 2023.