Congrats Zafrul – How This Finance Minister’s Plan To Expose RM6.6 Billion Projects Without Tenders Backfires On His Own Govt

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Aug 28 2020
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In 1987, Mahathir Mohamad barely survived a challenge mounted by Razaleigh Hamzah and Musa Hitam in the UMNO Election. Razaleigh lost by a mere 43 votes of the 1,479 ballots cast. Had he won, he would become the UMNO president, which would make him the prime minister. Had Najib Razak not betrayed Razaleigh at the last minute, Mahathir would be game over as early as 1987.


About 10 years later in 1998, Mr. Mahathir faced another challenge. During the UMNO General Assembly, then-former UMNO Youth Chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was instructed by Anwar Ibrahim (then-Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister) to raise the issues of nepotism and cronyism. The plan was to embarrass Mahathir and to trigger public criticism against his leadership.


But Anwar’s move backfired spectacularly. On the eve of the Pemuda and Wanita UMNO assembly, Mahathir retaliated in full force. The prime minister declassified tender documents and published the list of recipients of shares in government projects for public’s view. Mahathir cheekily said that “six million” people – practically all UMNO-Malay-Bumiputera – were part of the cronies.

Anwar Ibrahim and Zahid Hamidi - 1998

Then Mahathir revealed the list of recipients of special shares and privatisation projects given to Anwar’s cronies. To everyone’s surprise, Zahid’s name was mentioned in both the lists as among Anwar’s strong supporters who benefited from the government projects. The moral of the story – people who live in glass houses should not throw stones!


But days ago, a newly crowned ignorant finance minister had repeated the same mistake. Backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, under tremendous pressure from both allies and enemies, sent the half-past-six Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz on an important mission – to create another distraction to divert attention from the internal problems plaguing the Perikatan Nasional government.


Muhyiddin’s unregistered Perikatan Nasional coalition is fast breaking apart as UMNO, an ally of convenience, has increasingly turned hostile against the prime minister. Another ally, PAS Islamist party, prefers to play both sides and could backstab either Muhyiddin or UMNO at the last minute, the same way Najib betrayed Razaleigh back in the 1987’s UMNO Election.

Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali

The issue of Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, who was caught skipping mandatory home quarantine after his visit to Turkey from July 3-7, is actually very toxic. The Malay community might be too lazy to understand the 1MDB scandal. But the Khairuddin’s scandal is very easy and simple to digest, and most Malays are angry over the double standards.


Just because the newly appointed finance minister has a “Tengku” attached to his name does not automatically make him a clever man. After all, what type of man would easily abandon his integrity, dignity and professionalism as the CEO of Malaysian banking group CIMB and sang songs of praise in a “music video” for a crook like former Prime Minister Najib Razak.


So, four days ago (August 24), Finance Minister Zafrul, thinking he was incredibly smart, proudly walked into the Parliament ready to expose the biggest scandal of the previous Pakatan Harapan government. In a scripted dram where he replied to fellow colleague Ahmad Mazlan (a friendly UMNO lawmaker), Zafrul dropped a stunning half-baked bombshell.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz - Music Video For Najib Razak

A total of 101 projects with a procurement value of RM6.61 billion had been awarded through direct negotiations under the Pakatan Harapan government, declared Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz. All hell breaks loose. Gullible pro-Muhyiddin, pro-Najib, pro-UMNO, pro-PAS, and anti-Chinese supporters basically celebrate the revelation, as if they had won the FIFA World Cup.


The PAS Islamist party was happy because the exposé could divert attention from the “Covid-19 quarantine scandal” faced by Minister Khairuddin. UMNO Supreme Council member Razlan Rafii wanted the government to cancel all the 101 projects. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), a tool of the backdoor government, said they would immediately investigate.


Traitor Senior Minister Azmin Ali lied through his teeth when he claimed all the RM6.6 billion direct negotiations under the Pakatan Harapan administration, of which he was part of before his betrayal, were never discussed and decided by the Cabinet. Another traitor, Zuraida Kamaruddin, proudly proclaimed there was a ZERO direct negotiation project under her ministry.

Azmin Ali - Slaughtered Like A Pig

It was actually a second nuclear ballistic missile unleashed to specifically target former finance minister Lim Guan Eng. Traitors Muhyiddin and his blue-eyed boy Azmin were upset that the first attempt to shame Mr. Lim by charging him with the Penang tunnel scandal did not work out as anticipated. Instead of breaking up Chinese support, they rallied behind the DAP secretary-general.


However, the new bird Zafrul did not do his homework. When Lim challenged him to make public all the 101 projects, he panicked. Zafrul was challenged to back up his accusation with facts and figures – if he was indeed a brave man. Trapped and under pressure, the finance minister reluctantly released details of the projects, which ultimately boomerang at his own political master.


As it turned out, RM6.258 billion or 99.3% of the 101 projects had actually been approved through direct negotiations during the Barisan Nasional era, before they lost in the May 2018 General Election. Pakatan Harapan gave out only RM352 million or 0.7%. Apparently, Pakatan government had to proceed with the inherited projects because cancellation would trigger lawsuits – and massive compensation – due to breach of contract.

Lim Guan Eng

Nevertheless, the Pakatan government had “re-negotiated” and managed to lower the project cost of those approved by the corrupt Barisan government. For example, the Klang Valley Double Tracking (Phase II) project (KVDT2) worth a whopping RM4.48 billion started by Barisan through direct negotiations was renegotiated by Pakatan and finally RM790 million was saved.


It appears in his haste to play dirty politics on behalf of his boss, finance minister Zafrul had delivered a shoddy job. He just dumped every project that he could possibly find during the 22 months under Pakatan government, without checking if they were appropriate or legacy projects from Barisan regime. The lazy minister most probably didn’t read the details of all those projects before charging to the Parliament.


Luckily, Zafrul didn’t include the scandalous East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project that was first negotiated directly between former PM Najib Razak and China Communications Construction Ltd (CCCC). The project, which cost the country an eye-popping RM65.5 billion, was reduced to RM44 billion – a saving of RM21.5 billion – after Pakatan government re-negotiated with Beijing.

ECRL Project Revised Alignment - Map - Key Indicators

The errand boy of Muhyiddin would make a bigger fool of himself had he screamed in Parliament that Pakatan Harapan had awarded through direct negotiations 102 projects (inclusive of ECRL) worth a staggering RM131.5 billion. Perhaps the dubious ECRL deal, tainted with RM30 billion kickbacks for crooked Najib, was too difficult for the clueless and  incompetent Zafrul to understand.


Heck, even out of the RM352 million worth of projects awarded through direct negotiations under Pakatan, most of them were requested by the same traitors who had the cheek to condemn their own previous government. Zuraida Kamaruddin, one of the Pakatan Harapan defectors, had asked for RM170 million worth of projects through direct negotiations under her ministry.


Azmin Ali, who was Minister of Economic Affairs before betraying his own Pakatan government, had asked former Finance Minister Lim for RM21,000 just to buy some books through a direct negotiation – even though it was available online for free. The disgraced gay Minister Azmin had also asked for money to renovate his office.

Zuraida Kamaruddin and Azmin Ali

The best part was when Lim counter-exposed that the current prime minister – Muhyiddin Yassin – had shamelessly asked for RM517.7 million worth of projects without open tender when he was in charge of Home Ministry under the previous Pakatan Harapan government. Even the Doraemon Minister Rina Mohd Harun, another traitor, had gotten RM7.36 million projects via direct negotiations.


Zafrul’s sloppiness also saw him include FIFA World Cup 2018 live telecast worth RM29.9 million as one of the 101 projects dealt via direct negotiations. Although RTM under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry initially paid RM29.9 million to Sports Media & Distributor (who held monopoly right with FIFA), the money was later reimbursed by the sponsors – AirAsia and Maxis.


The finance minister was supposed to show that Pakatan Harapan had inappropriately awarded projects worth billions of dollars without open tender. Instead, the list of projects revealed the shortcomings – even the possibility of corruption and abuse of power – of allies in the current Perikatan Nasional administration led by PM Muhyiddin.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin

In fact, the entire drama backfires so spectacularly that one might wonder whether Zafrul was sent to undermine opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition or to sabotage ruling government’s own ally UMNO. Did we not advise backdoor PM Muhyiddin not to send a boy to do a man’s job? Zafrul was a clueless empty vessel from the beginning.


On Thursday (August 27), just a day after the finance minister released details of the 101 contracts after being challenged, he made an incredible U-turn. Now, he said there is nothing wrong with conducting direct negotiations, backtracking from his earlier accusation. Amusingly, he even mentioned Section 6 (1) of the Financial Procedure Act 1957 (Revised 1972) to justify direct negotiations.


But if direct negotiations are allowed (under certain circumstance) from the beginning, then why the hell was he whining, crying and bitching until foaming at the mouth accusing the previous Pakatan Harapan government of giving out RM6.6 billion worth of contracts without tender? Well, that’s because Pakatan has pledged open tenders in its 2018 election manifesto.

Pakatan Harapan Flag

Get your popcorn ready. Here’s the exact wordings from Pakatan Harapan Manifesto Promise No. 23 – “To ensure that every cent of taxpayer’s money is spent well, the Pakatan Harapan Government will reform the public procurement system and the way contracts are awarded. This is to ensure that it is more competitive and it will generate the best value for taxpayer’s money. We will ensure that the open tendering is used extensively and transparently, particularly for large projects.”


Yes, the manifesto says to implement open tenders as “extensively and transparently as possible”, NOT 100% open tenders. Why not? That’s because allocation for crisis, natural disaster and national security cannot be done through open tenders for obvious reason. For example, RM223 million was awarded – directly – to Airbus to service existing A400M military transport plane manufactured by Airbus.


Of course, the corrupt and evil regime of Perikatan Nasional deliberately erased the words “extensively and transparently” to hookwink the ignorant and dumb supporters into believing that Pakatan Harapan had broken its promise. Here’s another hilarious part – like Zahid Hamidi in 1998, Finance Minister Zafrul still hasn’t realised that he had been played by his own boss.


So, will the MACC dare investigate and charge Prime Minister Muhyiddin, Senior Minister Azmin, Minister Zuraida and Doraemon Minister Rina? Or will the MACC pull another incredible drama by investigating Lim Guan Eng anyway, insisting that no matter what, it’s Mr Lim’s fault for approving all the re-negotiated projects worth RM6.258 billion?

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz


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