MCA Minister Wee Ka Siong’s desperate lies to sabotage the Penang road and tunnel project with false allegations of corruption will not whitewash the RM 52 billion 1MDB scandal that has made Malaysia world famous as a global kleptocracy. The 3 roads and tunnel project was the first project in Malaysian electoral history to be presented to the people on the eve of the 2013 general elections to allow the people to decide whether they support this initiative to alleviate traffic congestion, by giving them the option to endorse or vote out the Pakatan government.
The overwhelming victory by Pakatan where MCA, Gerakan and MIC lost all their seats clearly showed the endorsement of the rakyat for this bold initiative to mitigate traffic congestion in Penang. Wee and BN is now taking revenge for that disastrous electoral outing in Penang, by trying to sabotage this project with distortions or outright lies.
Amongst the false insinuations by Wee are that,
- Zenith the consortium that was awarded the contract was not granted the contract properly when the truth is that it is granted by open competitive tender;
- a fashion company is building the roads and tunnels when the truth is that the main contractor is China Railway Construction Corporation(CRCC), one of the largest construction company in the world;
- that CRCC’s role is irrelevant because it is not a shareholder when the truth is that CRCC signed the agreement as the main contractor together with Zenith and the state government; and
- the commitment by CRCC to ensure the completion of the project is not legally valid because CRCC’s commitment is not stamped when the truth is that the principal agreement is stamped and CRCC’s commitment is part of the agreement.
Wee continues his desperate lies by now claiming that the Penang government awarded this RM6.3 billion Major Roads and Tunnel project to an 82-day-old special purpose company that did not support the state government’s contention of a paid-up capital of RM4.5 billion. Wee even claimed that the Penang government has misrepresented the shareholders of the Penang Tunnel company since CRCC and BUCG (Beijing Urban Construction Group) have never been shareholders. This is untrue because BUCG was originally a shareholder before they were allowed to leave.
A special purpose vehicle formed by companies to undertake a specific project is a common feature in major projects, not only in Putrajaya but throughout the world. The Zenith Consortium is a bumiputera company formed by local and foreign companies specifically for this project that fulfilled the RM381million minimum paid-up to qualify for the project.
For Wee to claim that the Zenith Consortium failed to fulfil the RM381 million minimum paid up capital requirement is false because it ignores the fact that the Zenith Consortium won the tender by open competitive tender. How can there be kickbacks of millions of ringgit by Penang government political leaders, when the Penang State Tender committee is headed by the Penang State Secretary and other state government civil servants? This corruption investigation is clearly a political witch-hunt by BN to tarnish the image of the Penang state government in the run-up to the coming general elections.
Wee also said that the Zenith Consortium was in financial distress when it was awarded the tender contract in 2013. Whilst we cannot answer on behalf of the company, the Penang Tender Committee headed by the Penang State Secretary made the right decision then, because until today 5 years later, this so-called “financially-distressed company” is still progressing and has not gone bankrupt.
Wee is wrong when he said that the part CRCC signed was in a document that was merely an attached letter of commitment. Wee lied by saying that the attached letter of commitment was only a supporting document or a mere reference, when it is actually a part of the contract or principal agreement. Wee lied again by refusing to acknowledge that CRCC had also signed in the principal agreement as the main contractor together with the state government and Zenith consortium. In other words, CRCC signed twice.
As CRCC’s role is part of the principal agreement, stamping would have the legal effect of covering CRCC’s commitments. Only Wee can imply that stamping is required to be done on every page of the contract to have legal effect. There is a reason why Wee deliberately refuses to apologise for his blatant lie that the agreement was not stamped or that CRCC’s commitment to complete the project was not legally binding because it was not stamped.
Wee is desperate to exclude CRCC because CRCC is part of the main agreement that was signed by the state government on 29.10.2013 together with Zenith consortium. Even CRCC has issued a statement that was cited by Wee in The Star on 20.1.2018, confirming that CRCC is the main contractor for this project.
In other words, it was a form of “tri-partite agreement” comprising the state government, Zenith consortium as shareholders, and CRCC as the main contractor. In order to lock in CRCC as the main contractor, CRCC gave an additional commitment in the agreement to successfully complete the project – a form of double insurance. Locking in CRCC is important to ensure the project’s success not only in terms of financial viability but also the technical and professional expertise required for such a major project.
In conclusion, with the agreement signed also by CRCC, and that the agreement was also stamped, this is where the whole project has the legal backing of companies with a paid-up capital of RM4.5 billion that has committed itself legally to ensure its successful completion. For this reason, BUCG’s role as a shareholder of the Zenith Consortium is not as critical as the presence of CRCC as the main contractor will ensure the success of the project.
LIM GUAN ENG