“Nurul is convinced that Harapan is better capacitated than Barisan Nasional to carry out mega-projects due to its ‘minimal-wastage policy’. If that is the case, can she help resolve the disagreement between Chow and Hock Seng over costs involved in the tunnel project and explain to us what those costs entail?”
THE THIRD FORCE
Nurul Izzah Anwar may have just proven she is Lim Guan Eng’s political half-sister. Speaking at a rally yesterday, the PKR vice-president and Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament (MP) claimed that Pakatan Harapan (Harapan) could do a better job than the ruling Barisan Nasional in providing services to the masses.
“I want to say thank you for the line between Sungai Buloh and Kajang.
“I want to tell Najib Razak. Without wastage, we under Pakatan Harapan with the former deputy prime minister and prime minister can execute the MRT project with a wider network and a lower cost,” she said to what The Malay Mail Online described as “loud cheers from the floor.”
So loud must have been the cheers, so overpowering were the emotions, you’d probably have thought she delivered the winning speech to spike Harapan’s ratings, now at the nadir of public acceptance. But far from it, Harapan is now facing a trust-deficit, with members and supporters skeptical of Nurul’s decision to forgive Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the man who jailed her father in 1998.
The skepticism was fueled further by Mahathir when he did a surprise U-Turn, announcing that Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the victim of a conspiracy by Najib. The former stopped short only of admitting that he himself conspired to incarcerate Anwar in 1998. Back then, Mahathir was adamant – claiming even to possess ‘evidence’ – that Anwar was a “womanizer and sodomist” who solicited sex through middle men.
But never mind that.
What is so cryptic about Nurul is her ability to defend Harapan amid controversies swirling around the coalition’s handling of projects. According to her, Harapan was better capacitated to carry out mega-projects as it “was not wasteful.” But the fact is, Penang’s Harapan administration paid an excessive RM220 million in consulting fees for the state’s Undersea Tunnel project to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) just to get some reports.
The mega-project, which involves the construction of a 7.2 km tunnel, constitutes part of the Penang Roads and Tunnels Project, undertaken by the Harapan led state administration and main contractor Consortium Zenith-BUCG Sdn Bhd. Guan Eng, whose leads the Penang Harapan administration, broke procurement guidelines when he stood by as the project was awarded to an undercapitalized company (the SPV) in a process shrouded with mystery.
And that raised public concerns if the SPV had the means or capacity to carry out the mega-project to provide, as Nurul beautifully phrased it, “better services for the masses.” Two days back, Barisan Nasional’s Eric See-To pointed out that the SPV was announced winner of the project via a Request for Proposal by Guan Eng on 1st March 2013 that didn’t seem to follow established guidelines.
An excerpt from a statement by Eric reads as follows:
At that time of award, the Penang Govt issued a statement on 4th March 2013, denying that the SPV was under-capitalized to deliver such a mega-project and claimed that the SPV had a collective paid-up capital of RM4.6 billion.
However, checks showed that the SPV company was only incorporated on 5th July 2012 – 9 months before being awarded. At the time of award in March 2013 and contract signing, the SPV company only had a paid-up capital of RM100,000.
More worrying is that as at its financial year end of Aug 2013, the SPV company only had cash balances of RM64,672 and had a negative net-worth of RM7.96mil. The SPV’s audited statement also showed that their auditors had raised an emphasis of matter that there is a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt that the company can continue to operate as a going concern.
Shocking, is it not?