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Friday, December 9, 2022

G25 disputes ex-minister’s defence of direct deals for projects


Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin says direct negotiations for projects are against Treasury guidelines.

PETALING JAYA: The G25 group of prominent retired civil servants has questioned former environment and water minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man’s defence of directly negotiated projects.

This comes after the PAS deputy president said direct negotiations for urgent projects were not a procurement offence and that not every directly negotiated contract was disorganised or involved opportunistic parties.

“What proof does Tuan Ibrahim have that every directly negotiated project is organised?”

“Projects awarded without tenders can be abused by dishonest contractors or government officials,” G25 member Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin told FMT, pointing out that direct negotiations for projects were against Treasury guidelines.

Farida’s fellow G25 member Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim said ministries needed to argue their case to bypass the need for a competitive bidding process.

“The Treasury can give an exemption if there are grounds for it,” said Sheriff, a former Treasury secretary-general.

“Direct negotiations can only be carried out once the Treasury has given the green light.”

Tuan Ibrahim’s defence of directly negotiated contracts came after Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced a review of flood mitigation projects worth RM7 billion awarded through direct negotiations, which he said senior finance ministry officials disagreed with.

Transparency International Malaysia president Muhammad Mohan said direct negotiations were only acceptable during emergencies when aid needed to be given urgently.

For longer-term mitigation projects, open tenders were necessary, he said.

“We have to look at the urgency of these projects to the point that RM7 billion needed to be spent,” he said.

He said it was unreasonable to award high-value projects through direct negotiations if they were part of mitigation measures. - FMT

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