NSE denies getting RM100mil Mosti grant, says will sue PKR’s Rafizi over allegation


(The Star) – NSE Resources Corporation (NSERC) has denied receiving a grant of RM100mil for research and development from the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti), as alleged by PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli.

Its chief executive officer Azhar Anuar said the company was mulling legal action against the Pandan lawmaker for defamation as his accusation has damaged the company’s reputation.

In an interview with The Star Online, Azhar said the company had applied to the ministry for financial assistance of RM100mil in order to complete the final phase of a gasifier steam boiler plant currently being built in Kertih, Terengganu.

Azhar said NSERC deserved such financial assistance as it was a trigger project of the Entry Point Project (EPP) under the Mosti’s Bio-economy Transformation Programme. A trigger project is one selected to move an initiative forward.

“This financial assistance has nothing to do with the R&D grant. Why would I go back to R&D, something that I have done years ago?” he said.

Azhar explained that NSERC, which was incorporated in 2002, was recognised by the Government as it has a track record in renewable energy and specialty chemicals.

The RM2bil Kertih plant, the first bio-methionine one in the country, is to be commissioned to two giant investors, CJ Cheiljedang Corp from Korea and Arkema SA from France, he added.

He also said, based on feedback, the ministry was impressed with NSERC’s green technology, which could save the Government RM1.6bil in natural gas subsidies for 10 years and stop an outflow of RM360mil.

“So far, we have spent RM44.5mil on the plant, not a single sen came from the Government. It was from shareholders, bank loans and a 25% injection from Malaysian Venture Capital Management,” he said.

He also dismissed Rafizi’s claim suggesting that his company didn’t go through proper procedures to obtain financial assistance.

“We had to go through a six-week evaluation involving an external party from Germany,” he said.

Rafizi, in a series of recent allegations on misuse of Mosti’s R&D grants, claimed that the RM100mil awarded to NSERC was part of RM1.15bil awarded in R&D grants.

He also revealed what he claimed were classified letters indicating that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had personally instructed Mosti’s Minister Datuk Ewon Ebin to approve the grant to NSERC.

Expressing shock, Azhar said NSERC was a private entity, with no interests or ties to the Prime Minister or his political party.

“How can I go straight to PM when he doesn’t even know who I am? What I did was to write a letter to the Mosti minister because he said he would support us as we are a triggering project,” he said.

“Rafizi also insinuated that we had received the RM100mil, but we have not received even a single sen yet. We don’t even know the status of our application,” he said.

Azhar also clarified that a RM50mil grant received from the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (Kettha), was just “collateral”.

Rafizi had previously claimed that NSERC received not only RM100mil in the form of a grant from the ministry, but also an additional RM50mil from Kettha.

He alleged this was evident through a letter from NSERC to the Terengganu government informing it that the ministry had approved a green technology financing scheme worth RM50mil.

“Since our project involves green technology as we are releasing less green house gasses, we received a certificate by the ministry saying that we fulfilled the Green Technology financing scheme eligibility criteria.

“However, this certificate is a collateral, in order for us to get banking facilities, not a grant,” he said.

He said he had “no choice” but to pursue legal action against Rafizi.

“We are quite sad that he keeps on harping on this without going through the details and verifying with us,” said Azhar.

Mosti’s Deputy Minister Datuk Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah has also reportedly denied awarding such R&D grants to the company, saying it was not included in the grant recipients numbering more than 4,000.