LRT Line Extension Project given to a George Kent – crony award by Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR – Putrajaya’s confirmation that George Kent received the lucrative Ampang LRT line extension job exposed Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s reform pledges as nothing but lies, said DAP.

Party national publicity chief Tony Pua said the announcement proved the allegation that the prime minister had interfered in the contract award process despite his earlier denial that the consortium, whose owner was said to be Najib’s golf partner, had received preferential treatment.

Yesterday, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana), the project and asset owner for the LRT Line Extension Project (LEP), confirmed in a statement that the contract had been given to a George Kent-Lion Pacific joint venture.

The project’s value was not stated but the firm disclosed that it would be below the RM7 billion ceiling.

Pua and PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli, the leading man behind the exposé on George Kent, had said in the past that the consortium had no qualified experience for the project with its core expertise being only in water infrastructure projects.

“What is completely beyond belief in the sheer abuse of power by the prime minister is that George Kent, a manufacturer and supplier of (water infrastructures) can be qualified for a billion ringgit LRT project.

“What is worse is the fact that George Kent made only net profits of RM19.3 million on revenues of RM152 million for the financial year ended Jan 31, 2012,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said in a statement.

‘Broke every single rule’

Through a series of exposés, Rafizi showed leaked official documents indicating possible power abuse in the contract award process when the Ministry of Finance had overruled the recommendation from Prasarana to award the contract to British engineering firm, Balfour Beatty-Invensys Consortium.

The MoF Acquisition Committee, headed by Najib, had subsequently instructed the contract to be given to George Kent which bid far higher than what was offered by Balfour Beatty-Invensys.

Pua said Najib had “shamelessly broke every single rule on transparency, accountability and integrity” and with little moral authority to justify the award.

It was learnt that the consortium had failed both the contract’s technical and commercial evaluations.

“The decision to proceed with the award proves beyond doubt that Najib is willing to shamelessly break every single rule on transparency, accountability and integrity, despite the scandal having already been exposed.

“The blatant crony award of the RM1.18 billion contract above also confirms that the prime minister’s cornerstone ‘Government Transformation Programme’ (GTP) to improve transparency and reduce corruption is nothing more than rhetorical propaganda,” said Pua.

The George Kent saga would likely cast doubts over the accountability of other major projects Putrajaya had in the pipeline and provide the opposition with more fodder in the run up to key national polls that must be held by mid next year. – By Syed Jaymal Zahiid -FMT