Dr M: I told Petronas to enrich my son

The former premier mocks a reporter who asked an embarrassing question.

Syed Jaymal Zahiid, FMT

Dr Mahathir Mohamad today mocked a Malaysiakini reporter for questioning him on lucrative multimillion ringgit petroleum contracts involving Petronas and SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd, of which his son Mokhzani is vice-president.

The visibly annoyed former prime minister, who is adviser to the national oil company, said he had used his influence with Petronas to ensure that SapuraKencana win the business.

“Yes, of course, he is given it because I instructed Petronas,” he told the reporter. “You can put that in your paper.”

“I presided over everything. I told them, ‘Please give to my son and not to anybody else’.”

The reporter’s question came during a press conference that followed the presentation of a patron award to Mahathir from the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP).

The reporter raised the question in defiance of a plea by the event organisers that the media confine the session to town planning and other issues related to the function.

The reporter asked if Mahathir thought there was a conflict of interest in the award of two contracts, worth RM836 million in total.

Mahathir replied: “That is what I’ve been doing all the time. Even the time when I was prime minister, everything goes to my children.

“But when everything goes to the children of other PMs, you don’t want to mention because he is a nice man.”

Mahathir left shortly afterwards, cutting the press conference short.

An event official later told FMT the reporter should have “been more respectful”.

“We wanted the press conference to be confined to the event,” he said. “It’s okay that he wanted to ask the question, but he could have framed it in a more tactful way.”

Reuters reported last week that Allied Marine & Equipment Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of SapuraKencana, was awarded a RM700 million underwater services contract for three and a half years by Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

Another wholly-owned unit, Kencana HL Sdn Bhd, was awarded a RM135.8 million engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract from HESS Exploration and Production Malaysia BV for an integrated gas project in the Kamelia Field in the North Malay Basin.

The contracts were announced in two stock exchange filings last Thursday.