Pua demands Najib explain new highway awards

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — The Najib administration should explain the tender awards process of four new tolled highways, amid reports of them being directly awarded, DAP MP Tony Pua said today.

The DAP national publicity secretary said that recent news reports on the tender acquisition of the four highways in Peninsular Malaysia proved that none of the projects were being tendered on a open and competitive basis.

“This piece of news comes as a surprise, first with the Government and Economic Transformation Programmes prioritising and focusing on public transportation, while secondly and more importantly there appears to be no indication at all that these projects are being tendered on an open and competitive basis as promised under the Prime Minister’s New Economic Model (NEM),” Pua said in a statement.

The Edge Financial Daily reported yesterday that PLUS Expressways Bhd would be the concession operator of two of the expressways, while Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) would run the rest.

The highways to be operated by PLUS are from Sungai Dua to Juru in Penang, and from Kinrara to Damansara in the Klang Valley, while the PNB-operated highways are said to be from Ampang to Cheras and from Damansara to Sungai Buloh.

It is understood that the new toll highways are likely to be announced during Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Budget 2011 speech on Friday.

“One doesn’t have to look into the NEM to see that the PM knows full well the negative impacts of a poorly managed, directly awarded privatisation exercises,” said Pua.

The Petaling Jaya Utara M“There is nothing transparent about the tender awarding of the four new toll highways.P added that if the news reports of PLUS and PNB’s acquisition of the toll highways were true, it would contradict points of a speech given by Najib at the Jeddah Economic Forum back in 2007 when Najib was deputy prime minister.

According to Pua, the prime minister had then said that the government should push for competitive bidding for privatised assets and ensure that process was transparent and fair.