Direct negotiation directive morally wrong

Date:

KUCHING: Encouraging ministers to award government contracts at their whims and fancies is “morally wrong” no matter what the justifications are.

Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS) chief Francis Paul Siah sees Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s encouragement on the matter as going against the Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) promise of upholding the open tender process.

He stressed that the concept of open tender is to encourage transparency in the bidding for contracts and to weed out corruption.

Francis Siah

“MoCS stands strongly opposed to Dr Mahathir’s decision to allow his ministers to award government contracts in areas under their jurisdiction.

“It is shocking and proof that Malaysians have been cheated again following the slew of PH’s U-turns that have demoralised Malaysians.

“When ministers are allowed to award contracts, who do you think they would give the contracts to? Surely, their first choice will be those within their inner circle — family members, close friends and political supporters.

“This is the fastest and surest way to breed corruption among members of the cabinet,” said Siah, who questioned whether the matter was collectively decided by the Cabinet or if it was another unilateral decision of the prime minister.

He argued that if the decision was made unilaterally, it would be appalling if none of the ministers objected. Or if they agreed, was it because they have been authorised to award contracts as they see fit?

The MoCS chief warned that if this move was not reversed, PH would go down in Malaysian history as the government with the worst record of deceptions and U-turns.

“With each passing day, the resemblance of the PH government to a ‘one-term wonder’ is getting clearer,” he said.

Last Saturday, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh warned Dr Mahathir that encouraging such a practice would undermine PH’s pledge to eradicate corruption.

He said that even if such awards were legal, they were morally wrong as they would create perception of favouritism.

“The PM’s statement can lead to ministers thinking that they can award contracts as they like as long as it is in their areas (whatever that means),” he was reported to have said.

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