Zuraida’s aide: Guan Eng’s ministry handled direct award contracts

(Malaysiakini) – An aide to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin has reiterated that the minister was not involved in the awarding of direct tenders under her ministry’s purview.

Instead, political secretary Nor Hizwan Ahmad said the matter was handled directly by the Finance Ministry which was helmed by Lim Guan Eng at the time.

“The true facts of the matter are that Zuraida was totally not involved in the negotiation, approval, or discussion of the projects.

“Not one of them involved Zuraida. It was handled directly by the Finance Ministry where Lim was the minister at the time.

“I am certain that the Housing and Local Government Ministry has kept the relevant documents and has a chronology of how the projects got approval from the Finance Ministry to proceed,” Hizwan said in a statement today.

Zuraida previously said she was not involved in offering any projects through direct negotiation while under the Pakatan Harapan administration.

When Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz recently unveiled a list of 101 projects that were purportedly awarded by the Harapan ministration through direct tender, the list showed two Housing and Local Government Ministry projects totalling RM170.79 million.

One was a RM501,206.37 contract to maintain a financial and accounting system.

The other was a RM170,294,400 contract to build, operate, and maintain a new solid waste transfer station in Jinjang Utara, Kuala Lumpur, to replace an existing station.

After the list was released, Zuraida claimed that the contracts were approved without her knowledge and pledged an investigation.

Lim, who held a press conference this morning to rebut Zafrul’s claims, had said, “Perhaps it’s better for the minister (Zuraida), who has refuted claims of being involved in direct awards, to explain what happened”.

Meanwhile, Hizwan chided the Harapan politicians to attacked Zuraida on the issue, particularly Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

Hizwan claimed that the opposition’s attacks were merely a cover for Harapan’s own failings.

“The people are deserting the opposition, and to cover their failings that are becoming increasingly obvious, Zuraida has become a target for their cheap attacks. I am sure it will fail because we hold onto truth and facts.

“I’m also not surprised by the opposition’s outdated mentality that is constantly attacking the government because they have run out of political capital.

“The Perikatan Nasional government is now trusted as a transparent and open administration that has integrity,” he said.