Fri. May 31st, 2024

Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 6.3.2018


Just As Chua Soi Lek Challenged Me To A Debate, It Is Liow Tiong Lai In His Capacity AS MCA President Who Is Qualified To Challenge Me To A Debate Not Only On The Tunnel Project But Also On The Global Kleptocracy Of 1MDB Scandal.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Wee Ka Siong is clearly trying to do some self-promotion and get cheap publicity for the coming general elections. Wee yesterday dared me to be “man enough to challenge Wee to a public debate on the Penang tunnel and 3 main highways project”.


Wee conveniently forgets he is still not the MCA President and is No.2 in a party that won 7 Parliamentary seats in the last general elections. This is in contrast to me being the top leader of the DAP that won 38 Parliamentary seats.


Even ignoring the disparity in seats won between MCA and DAP, any challenge should come from the MCA President Liow Tiong Lai, not the Deputy President Wee Ka Siong. Just as former MCA President Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek had challenged me to a debate, it is Liow Tong Lai in his capacity as MCA President who is qualified to challenge me to a debate not only on the tunnel project but also on the global kleptocracy of 1MDB scandal.


Chua Soi Lek understands this simple logic, why is Wee Ka Siong not to be able to do so? Wee Ka Siong should at least accept that he is still not the top leader and more importantly respect Liow Tiong Lai’s position as his party President. Unless Wee thinks he is bigger than his President?


Any public debate should also be on a level playing field which would necessarily include the global 1MDB scandal, that has turned Malaysia into a global kleptocracy and the dubious distinction of being the most corrupt nation on earth. It is grossly unfair for Liow to ask me to debate on the tunnel and 3 main roads project whilst he refuses to answer on the 1MDB scandal.


I am sure Liow is eager to explain the money trail of billions of US dollars, where public funds owned by Malaysians have been wasted on Hollywood films, pink diamonds, palatial mansions in the New York, airplanes and the billion ringgit super yacht Equanimity, that was recently confiscated by the Indonesian authorities.


BN and Wee has gone on a concerted campaign to undermine and sabotage Penang state government’s efforts to alleviate traffic congestion with infrastructure works. Wee is also a serial liar who refuses to account for his lies and is an expert in avoiding justifying his lies, when exposed, by jumping to a new lie.


Wee refuses to acknowledge that the tunnel and 3 main highways project was conducted by open tender unlike the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link project. However only projects conducted by the Pakatan Penang state government appears to be problematic, but not the BN projects that had no open tender.


Wee had made wild allegations that the Zenith Consortium did not fulfil the minimum paid-up capital requirement of RM381 million, when Zenith was awarded the tender by the Penang State Tender Committee headed by the Penang State Secretary and senior government officials as required by law. This is a blatant lie.


And yet when exposed as a liar, Wee now claims he never attacked the Penang State Secretary. Instead Wee claims that he had directed the allegation against me. But how can I answer when I do not head or is not a member of the Penang State Tender Committee. By disputing the minimum capital requirement of RM381 million held by Zenith, Wee is impugning the integrity of the members of the Penang State Tender Committee headed by the Penang State Secretary. This is a classic case of a sneak below the belt attack (baling batu sembunyi tangan) and just outright leis (menegakkan benang yang basah).


This is the reason why I said that Wee is a despicable human being for running down an honest senior government civil servant, like Penang State Secretary Datuk Seri Farizan bin Darus, because Wee knows that Farizan as a Public Services Department officer, cannot refute a Federal government Minister like Wee, even though Wee is dead wrong.


The Penang state government is willing to be subject to public scrutiny to a level never witnessed before in Malaysia. But there is no point responding to Wee unless he accounts for the first 10 lies he made which he has still not done so. If Wee is not a coward, he should respond to my statement 3 weeks ago on 14.2.2018 as follows:-


MCA Minister Wee Ka Siong’s desperate attempts to justify his 10 lies with more lies on the 3 main roads and tunnel project will not work, because you can lie to some of the people some of the time, you can lie to all the people some of the time, but you can not lie to all the people all the time. Even whilst clinging desperately to his lies, Wee continues to make new ones, such as the winning consortium Zenith, securing a 110 acres prime land approved for high-density luxury condominiums despite the many delays in the proposed project.


This is false because the 110 acres of net developed land has not been transferred to Zenith. Where is it stated that there is approval for high-density luxury condominiums? How then can there be approval for high-density luxury condominiums when the land has not even been transferred?


Further who caused the delays when Federal government agencies changed their rules and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has carried out investigations since 2016? The unduly long MACC investigations has not only delayed but harassed government staff that required unnecessary and repetitive checks. With the latest attack by BN to sabotage the entire project, doubts have been expressed about the commitment of all parties involved and whether the project is still viable.


Wee’s latest “10 lies” article then spirals down to further depths of falsehoods of bare-faced denials by him. For instance he claimed that he had never insinuated that a fashion company, Vertice Bhd, was building the Penang Tunnel when he knew that China Railway Construction Corporation(CRCC) was clearly the main contractor. Wee should refer to MCA’s own paper, The Star on 13 January, which highlighted Wee’s lies as follows:-


Dr Wee: Why is a fashion company building the Penang Tunnel?


So Wee’s own party newspaper has caught out Wee for lying. Wee also denied BN’s involvement in MACC investigations and allegations of corruption of kickbacks of millions of ringgit were paid to state government leaders in this project. Has Wee so quickly forgotten that the BN media had put it up in the front pages?(see New Straits Times 20th January 2018)


Wee denies that MCA President Liow Tiong Lai abused his power as Transport Minister to pressure CRCC, which Wee and BN had first dragged them into this political controversy. And yet on the same breath, Wee admits that Liow got CRCC to “provide” information through his responsibilities as Transport Minister, even though the Malaysian government is not a party to the Penang contract.


Perhaps The Penang State Government Should Have Carried Out A Direct Tender Like The RM55 Billion ECRL Project To Avoid Any Harrassment Form MACC?

Wee claims that there is no need for an open tender for the  RM55 billion East Coast Railway Link(ECRL) project, that is 9 times bigger than the RM6.3 billion tunnel and 3 main roads project, because the ECRL was a government-to-government(G2G) project. Is the Penang project not a G2G project too when it is undertaken by a China government owned company and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) witnessed by both the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and China on 28 April 2011? (see picture)


Despite that, the Penang state government had insisted that an open tender be conducted in contrast to the ECRL. If the Penang state government had known that MACC would only investigate projects conducted under open tenders and not under direct tender, then perhaps we should have done the project under direct tender to avoid any harassment, even just before Chinese New Year.


Again Wee tried to drag the Penang State Secretary into this political fight by claiming that the paid up capital of the consortium that won the tender did not fulfil the minimum paid up capital(PUC) requirement of RM381 million. He even claimed that when awarding the tender, the State Secretary acted under instructions from the Chief Minister.


This is outrageous and preposterous lie. The State Secretary is the Chairman of the Penang State Tender Board and has carried out his duties according to the letter of the law. He received no benefit in granting the tender to Zenith. Zenith fulfilled the minimum PUC requirement of RM381 million. The Penang Tender Board granted the tender based on the merits of the tender and not as Wee alleged. It is unscrupulous for Wee to try to drag the State Secretary down just because Wee is unable to prove that there was hanky-panky in the award of the project by open tender.


I do not intend to explain at length to Wee that that you do not need to stamp every page of a contractual document nor justify that any document attached to the main agreement is part of that agreement. CRCC is mentioned in the main agreement and signed the main agreement as a party to the contract as well as gave an additional signed commitment to ensure completion of the project that is attached to the agreement. Any person buying a house would know that any document attached to the agreement is part of the main agreement. Perhaps Wee better get a lawyer to give him some tuition classes.


Finally I would like to repeat again that the state government had not paid a single cent or a single square inch of land to either Zenith or the contractor for the tunnel. Payment has been made only for the 3 main roads. For Wee to continue to claim that the state government has paid to either Zenith or the contractor for the tunnel is just sheer dishonesty.


Clearly both BN and Wee are only interested in sabotaging this public interest project that seeks to alleviate traffic congestion in Penang. It is pointless to respond to Wee when he continues to shamelessly cover up and cling desperately to his 10 lies. We leave it to the people of Penang to judge.