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Will MACC prove its independence and professionalism by investigating the cancellation of HSR?

Press Statement
5th January 2021

Will MACC Be Professional And Independent By Investigating The Cancellation Of The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) Due To Malaysia’s Refusal To Abide By The International Tender Process?

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has acted correctly by investigating Prasarana’s abuse of power and conflict of interest as well as payments to contractors for the LRT3 project following internal revelations within the PN government against the current Chairman. There is no doubt that Prasarana is in dire straits and the failure of Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong to address them is an indictment of Wee’s incompetence.

MACC investigations were initiated after the current Chairman launched blistering attacks against Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government. This is a correct move by MACC since so much public funds are involved. For the record, the original price of the LRT3 project at RM31.65 billion by the BN government was reduced by RM15.02 billion (or 47.5%) to RM16.63 billion after an expert review by the PH government.

The question is whether MACC will also act professionally and independently by investigating the cancellation of the KL-Singapore HSR project due to the Malaysian government’s refusal to abide by the international tender process? Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said the main reason why both countries could not reach an agreement on the HSR project was because Malaysia wanted to do away with the jointly-tendered asset company (AssetsCo).

Ong said that through an open and transparent international tender, AssetsCo would have ensured accountability to both countries. In response today, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mustapa Mohamed said that the original model of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) model that required tenders to be jointly conducted with Singapore was too costly.

No mention was made by Mustapa that Malaysia would pursue its own newer model that would still abide by international tender protocols. Mustapa mentioned that the method agreed upon by the BN government in 2016 would increase the cost and that PN’s proposed newer model will help reduce the cost. No explanation was given on how the cost can be reduced.

This is dishonest and self-contradictory for Mustapa as he appears to have forgotten that he was also a Cabinet Minister in the then BN government in 2016. Why is the estimated cost of the HSR of at least RM80 billion – excluding interest payments which come to an additional tens of billions of ringgit expensive now but not then?

For this reason, MACC must also launch a probe into the cancellation to quiet public suspicion that it investigates without fear or favour and based on facts, and is not a political tool for the current PN government.

Lim Guan Eng
DAP Secretary-General

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