by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday,10th February 1992:
Trengganu Mentri Besar should institute public inquiry into the allegations of monopoly by ‘royal contractor’, abuses of power and malpractices in the award of Trengganu government tenders and privatisation programmes to ensure that it would not be used as another instance for ‘istana-bashing’
Yesterday, the Trengganu Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad, denied allegations by the Trengganu branch of the Malaysian Bumiputra Contractors’ Association (PPBMT) of hanky-panky in the award of 15 tenders worth $106.5 million and the monopoly of state government contracts and privitisation programmes by a ‘royal contractor’, Seri Terukon Sdn. Bhd.
The Menteri Besar and the managing director of Seri Terukon Sdn. Bhd., Datuk Yusof Mohamed, have in turn made allegations against the PPBMT representing 1,978 contractors under the chairmanship of Dato’ Haji Abdul Rashid Mohamed.
For instance, they alleged that PPBMP’s consortium. Detra Bina, was given several projects by the Trengganu state government through direct negotiations, but these projects were carried out by companies owned by the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary of PPBMP.
It is most regrettable that the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, has said that the Federal Government would not interfere in the tender process of projects by the Trengganu state government. The question of honesty and integrity of any state government cannot be regarded as purely a state government matter, but one which concerns the Federal Government which is responsible for the Anti-Corruption Agency which set up to ensure a clean and honest public service at both Federal and state levels.
Surely Ghafar Baba is not suggesting that any impropriety in the tender process in the Sabah state Government is a Federal Government concern, but not in the case of any impropriety in the tender process in the Trengganu State Government?
The controversy over the hanky-panky in the award of Trengganu state government projects and privalisation programmes is also important because the Istana has been dragged into the picture.
Recently, it has become fashionable for certain political quarters to indulge publicly in ‘Istana-bashing’ and it is important to get to the bottom of the allegation of a ‘royal contractor’ in Trengganu monopolising all Trengganu state government contracts and privatisation programmes to establish its veracity or otherwise.
For instance, yesterday’s Berita Minggu carried public reactions of the ‘economic encroachment’ of such a ‘royal contractor’ in Trengganu following the allegations of the PPBMT.
Berita Mingguan reported that “Orang ramai menyifatkan penguasaan syarikat yang terbabit dengan istana dalam industri pembinaan, akan merugikan kontraktor Bumiputra, khususnya ketika negara berusaha memenuhi matlamat Wawasan 2020.
“Mereka memberi pandangan demikian ketika mengulas dakwaan sebuah syarikat pembinaan di Terengganu yang ada hubungan dengan pihak istana menguasai tender kerajaan negeri sehingga menjejaskan peluang kontraktor Bumiputera.
“Seorang eksekutif, Madon Mislan, 28, berkata pihak istana tidak sepatutnya terbabit secara langsung dengan perniagaan, kerana mereka sudah diberi peruntukan khas dalam negara ini.
“Menurutnya, pembabitan mereka secara tidak langsung akan membantutkan usaha kerajaan meningkatkan taraf ekonomi Bumiputera seperti yang diharapkan ketika berlangsungnya Kongress Ekonomi Bumiputera Ke-3 bulan lalu.
“Katanya, pihak istana yang mampunyai kedudukan tidak sepatutnya mendapat projek itu yang secara langsung mangambil peluang orang lain dan menjejaskan perkembangan masyarakat perdagangan Bumiputera.
“‘Malah, kapitan Cina tidak sepatutnya mempergunakan pihak istana semata-mata ingin mengaut keuntungan, ’ kataya.”
Public inquiry should also investigate as to whether any ‘Kapitan Cina’ is involved in the ‘economic encroachment’ by the Trengganu ‘royal contractor’
Yesterday, Tan Sri Wan Mochktar denied that there had been any ‘Istana’ interference, and said that in his 18 years as Treangganu Mentri Besar, he had never “received any orders from the Sultan of Trengganu or any yellow letter from the palace directing the Government to give priority to any particular contractor”.
Such verbal denial, however, will not suffice either to end the Trengganu controversy over hanky-panky in the award of state government projects and privatisation programmes, or prevent it being used as another instance for ‘Istana-bashing’ by certain politicians with their axes to grind.
What is even more unfortunate is that the spectre of “Kapitan China” using the Istana for their own business interests have also been raised in the Trengganu case.
For this reason, the Trengganu Mentri Besar should institute a public inquiry to get to the bottom of three aspects of the case:
Firstly, to establish whether there had been any hanky-panky, abuse of power and malpractices in the award of 15 tenders worth $106.5 million by the Trengganu State Government to Seri Terukon Sdn. Bhd.;
Secondly, whether there is any ‘royal contractor’ who monopolised all the state government contracts and privatisation programmes in Trengganu; and
Thirdly, whether there is a ‘’Kapitan Cina’ involved in the ‘economic encroachments’ by the ‘royal contractor’ in Trengganu.