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Abdullah should make public the Scomi Group report for scrutiny and verification that the company in which his son Kamaluddin has interest had not taken advantage of the special relationship with him as to raise conflict-of-interest issues
(Parliament, Saturday) : The Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said that he did not mislead Malaysians over Scomi Group Bhd contracts in his TV3 interview on August 7 and that ‘Latest reports he received on the matter indicated that ‘the company in which his son Kamaluddin has an interest, did not win local contracts through special favours but through open tenders”. (New Straits Times)
Abdullah said: “I would like to point out that what I had said about the company was correct. No project was given to Scomi with my knowledge and I have not personally given any kind of permission to grant favours or, for that matter, projects (to Scomi)”.
The previous Saturday, Abdullah had said that he had called for a report from Scomi Group and that he would apologise to the people if he had inadvertently erred when he spoke about the Scomi Group during a recent TV3 interview.
Abdullah’s claim that he did not mislead the people over Scomi in the TV3 interview does not stand up to close examination.
There are two issues here. Firstly, what did Abdullah actually say in the TV3 interview – did he say that Kamaluddin and Scomi did not obtain government tenders or did he qualify it by saying that they did not get government contracts “through special favours but open tenders”.
It is clear from the translation of the transcript of Abdullah’s TV3 interview that he said the former and not the latter, viz:
23.Q: In your capacity
as the Finance Minister, has his (Kamaludin) company obtained government
Abdullah’s answer was very specific and definitive, that Kamaludin and Scomi Group had not “obtained government tenders”.
On this first point, Abdullah had misled the people over the Scomi issue. Accepting his bona fides that he had not intended to mislead Malaysians, the question that naturally arises is who had misled the Prime Minister “to mislead the people” on the matter.
Abdullah raised the second issue when he said yesterday that “No project was given to Scomi with my knowledge and I have not personally given any kind of permission to grant favours or, for that matter, projects (to Scomi)”.
As Prime Minister who is leading an administration which gives importance to integrity, he should know that under the principle of ministerial responsibility, no Minister can disclaim responsibility for any decision taken by the Ministry – regardless of whether the Minister has personal knowledge or otherwise of the matter.
In the case in point, as Finance Minister, the plea of ignorance is neither credible nor acceptable to shirk or avoid responsibility for any decision taken by the Finance Ministry affecting Kamaluddin and Scomi, whether contracts or projects.
He cannot resort to the simple expedient of “washing his hands” whether on the ground of ignorance or that he had not “personally given any kind of permission to grant favours or, for that matter, projects” to Kamaluddin and Scomi, so long as they come within the purview and jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry.
Abdullah’s statement yesterday was very self-serving and without credibility. He should make public the Scomi Group report which was submitted to him two days ago for parliamentary and public scrutiny and verification that the company in which his son Kamaluddin has interest had not taken advantage of the special relationship with him on government contracts as to give rise to conflict-of-interest issues.
During the budget debate in Parliament on Monday, I had raised five questions about Abdullah’s TV3 interview, viz:
Abdullah is not inspiring public confidence that we have a world-class public serive costing taxpayers RM112.9 billion next year in operating expenditures, with a million-strong civil service, when it is so incompetent, inept and irresponsible as to leave the Prime Minister so uninformed and vulnerable in a very one-sided and domesticated TV interview!
There were also other inaccurate information which the Prime Minister made in the interview, as in his defence of the highly controversial multi-million ringgit loan-and-acquisition of shares of ECM Libra by his son-in-law,Khairy Jamaluddin and his denial that no Malaysian company was being controlled by a foreign company, although private hospital operator Pantai Holdings was at the time controlled by Singapore-based Parkway Holdings Ltd.
should come out with a full and proper explanation of the misinformation and
contradictions which he had made in his TV3 interview on August 7 in order
to restore his credibility and authority.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman