Ministers to award projects another U-turn by PH, says Sarawak activist

A political activist here has slammed Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that ministers are allowed to hand out projects within their own jurisdictions, calling it “morally wrong” and against Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) promise of open tenders.

(FMT) – Francis Paul Siah, who leads the Movement of Change for Sarawak, said the concept of open tenders is aimed at encouraging transparency in the bidding process and weeding out corruption.

“This is shocking, and more proof that Malaysians have been cheated again, as if the slew of U-turns by PH has not been enough to demoralise them and put them off,” he told FMT.

In September, Mahathir said Putrajaya would impose new conditions which would limit direct tenders to exceptional cases as part of the federal government’s plan to curb corruption in the civil service.

However, he said last week that ministers are allowed to hand out projects as long as they are within their jurisdictions.

This earned him criticism from Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh, who said it could undermine PH’s pledge to eradicate corruption and create the perception of favouritism among ministers.

Siah said ministers would almost certainly award projects to family members, close friends or supporters if they were allowed to do so.

This, he said, would be a sure way to breed corruption within the Cabinet.

He also asked if Cabinet members had agreed to the matter or whether it was a unilateral decision by the prime minister.

“If so, it is appalling that none of the ministers objected to the move which they should know is wrong,” he said.

“If this move is not reversed, PH will go down in history as the government with the worst record of lies, deceptions and U-turns.”