MACC told: Probe Shafie's projects
Kota Kinabalu: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been urged to investigate alleged irregularities in the rural development projects in Sabah awarded through the Federal Ministry of Rural and Regional Development.
DAP Member of Parliament Dr Hiew King Cheu claimed the irregularities involved 49 projects, which were part of the 209 rural development projects awarded by the Ministry for implementation between the period of 2011 and 2012.
The lowest contract sum was RM7.7 million and the highest sum was RM41.7 million.
Speaking to reporters, Saturday, Hiew said a bulk of these contracts involved rural water and power supply projects covering various parts of Sabah, from Pulau Banggi to Sipitang.
Hiew claimed that all the 49 rural development projects totaling RM1.3 billion were 1,500 per cent or 15 times higher than the normal contract price.
"It is ridiculously overpriced," he exclaimed. Only 129 of the 209 rural development projects awarded had been announced.
On top of that, most of these projects, which were either invited tenders, negotiated tenders, or directly awarded, which he claimed were not properly done through the Tender Board.
"Most of the companies awarded these projects are RM2 companies and some of the contractors involved are found to be directly linked to certain senior BN/Umno politicians from Sabah," he alleged.
Hiew said a careful study of the detailed tender documents provided by an insider indicated that the lowest tender did not get the job, but someone with a higher tender price of almost 1,500 per cent from the lowest bidder gets the job.
For example, he said the "Rural Power Supply Project for the Connection of Power Grid No.1" (for 2011 - 2012) was awarded with a price of RM41,736,809.77 and the lowest tender price was only RM7,775,000.00, with a difference of RM33,961,809.77.
While the "Hybrid Solar Power System" for the Semporna islands was awarded at a tender price of RM95,282,322 which many deemed too high a price.
"With that amount of money, I can always get someone to build a power station," he said. Similar project was awarded to another company for a whopping sum of RM81,475,281.42 to supply power to Pulau Banggi, off Kudat.
Another project involved the installation of a 4km long undersea power cable to generate power supply for Pulau Gaya at the cost of RM42 million.
"A random survey conducted with several qualified local contractors revealed that this can be done at just RM5 million," he said.
He said what the Pulau Gaya folks urgently needed was clean water supply, and not power supply, citing that there's already a "power station" on the island.
He said it may cost another RM100 million if the water supply project is to be implemented by the Ministry after this.
To substantiate his claims, Hiew also distributed copies of the detailed tender documents containing the list of projects and names of contractors to the reporters.
He said the documents were earlier sent to the DAP Member of Parliament for Beruas, Ngeh Koo Han, who later extended some copies to him since they also involved projects implemented in Sabah.
Hiew also noted that when queried by Ngeh during the Budget debate session at the Committee Stage in the Parliament last week, the Minister concerned Datuk Shafie Apdal, refused to answer him.
Describing what transpired as blatant corrupt practice by those in power, Hiew urged the MACC to immediately swing into action to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.
"We call on the MACC to immediately step in to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter as we cannot tolerate the manner the taxpayers' money being misused. We strongly believe there is a strong element of corrupt practice and abuse of power," he said.
Also at the press conference were Sabah DAP deputy chairman Frederick Fung, vice chairman Edward Mujie, Medical Bureau Chief Dr Felix Chong and Publicity Chief Chan Fong Hing.