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Chan Kong Choy should apologise for the grave parliamentary misdemeanour of misleading the Prime Minister to give the baseless response that the Transport Minister had replied to my query as to who is awarded and why there was a 55% hike in the cost of Sentul-Batu Caves Double Rail Track from RM420 million to RM650 million in three years
Press Statement (1)
by Lim Kit Siang
I had sought clarification from Abdullah during his winding-up when he was speaking about efficient and accountable public service delivery and implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, referring him to the incident in Parliament on Wednesday when a Cabinet Minister claimed ignorance on a project which should come under his jurisdiction.
When Chan was winding-up the debate on the Transport Ministry, I had asked why the Sentul-Batu Caves Double Rail Track project had ballooned to RM650 million – or 55% higher than the RM420 million bid agreed three years ago before the project was suspended.
I quizzed Chan why the 7.5 km Sentul to Batu Caves high-speed line is now costing RM650 million, when independent valuers already found the RM420 million price agreed for the project in 2003 before it was suspended as too high as there were parties willing to do it for even less than RM350 million.
At the price of RM650 million, the Sentul to Batu Caves Double Track will work out to about RM90 million per kilometer, more than four times higher than the cost of Ipoh – Rawang Double Track project which cost approximately RM20 million per kilometer, regarded as quite expensive at the time.
At first Chong prevaricated by giving vague and general reasons for the 55% jump of the price of the project from RM420 million to RM650 million in a matter of three years, attributing it to price increases in materials and expertise and their sourcing from Europe.
But when I asked why there was no open tender and who was the new contractor who had been awarded the RM650 million contract, Chan decided to “pass the buck”, claiming that he did not have all the information, that it had to be referred to the Finance Ministry which was responsible for the project.
When I protested that it was outrageous that the Transport Minister did not know or could not tell who was the successful contractor for the RM650 million Sentul-Batu Caves Double Track project, Chan promised to check with the Finance Ministry and to give me a written answer.
I did not get any answer from Chan 24 hours later when I stood up to raise the issue with the Prime Minister during his winding-up of the Ninth Malaysia Plan debate. Chan quickly scribbled a note advising the Prime Minister that he (Chan) had answered my query – which was not true. As I described it in Parliament yesterday, Chan did “jawab tanpa memberi satu jawapan” on Wednesday!
I am still waiting for Chan’s reply as to who is the contractor awarded the RM650 million Sentul-Batu Caves Double Rail Track project and the full reasons for the 55% hike in the cost of Sentul-Batu Caves Double Rail Track from RM420 million to RM650 million in a matter of three years.
Chan was guilty of a similar “sleight-of-hand” in Parliament during the winding-up of the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address in March. During the debate on the Royal Address, both the DAP MP for Bagan, Lim Hock Seng and I had queried Chan on his misuse of Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) aircrafts to various parts of the country for MCA party functions. I called on him to present to Parliament the full log book of his use of DCA aircrafts since his appointment as Transport Minister and the purpose of each trip.
Keeping the subject to the very end of his speech, he just made a bald denial saying that the DCA had conducted a detailed investigation which found that there was no such abuses by the Minister, and suddenly sat down and refused to budge despite protests by several DAP MPs, including Hock Seng, Chong Eng (Bukit Mertajam), Chow Kong Yeow (Tanjong), Chong Chieng Jen (Bandar Kuching) that the answer about the Minister’s misuse of DCA aircraft was not only unsatisfactory but that there were many other issues raised in the debate which he had not given a reply! Chan just sat transfixed in his seat, indicating that he had finished his speech and had nothing more to add!
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman