Thursday, February 11, 2010

Zahrain exposed

Lim Guan Eng hit back today at his chief critic by releasing details of how his administration over-ruled Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim’s recommendation for the state-owned Bukit Jambul Country Club’s (BJCC) operations contract to be awarded to a RM2 company.

The Penang chief minister said the state government decided instead to have an open tender for the contract, which was subsequently awarded to another, more experienced company.

Lim’s statement comes amid increasing dissent against his administration, sparked of by former PKR state chief Zahrain, who described the chief minister as a “dictator, a chauvinist and communist-minded”.

The Penang CM disclosed today that BJCC was currently operated by Island Golf Properties Bhd (IGP), a Penang Development Corporation (PDC) subsidiary. Zahrain is IGP Chairman, and has held the post since July 9, 2008.

On Tuesday, the PDC board decided to award, via an open tender, the operations contract to a company which Lim said was worth more than RM40 million.

Yesterday, the PDC board, rejected Zahrain’s recommendation that it should have been awarded to the RM2 company he had recommended.

Lim said the full details of the tender award would be published after the Chinese New Year holidays.

“Certain actions and claims by Zahrain on the IGP has compelled PDC to monitor IGP closely to ensure that IGP is run in the public interest,” said Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general.

According to the statement, Lim had based his recommendations for a fresh open tender to the management of BJCC for two reasons:

“To allow a RM2 private company to win the tender for running BJCC, that involves [the] expenditure of tens of millions of ringgit, would make a mockery of the meaning of [an] open tender system.

“The RM2 company had no track record of running a golf club and was established on 29 Sept, 2008. The RM2 company was established a mere two months before the tender, clearly with the sole intended purpose of bidding for the tender in December 2008.”

Lim said that his refusal to agree to the requests made by Zahrain to select the RM2 company was based on the fact that an open tender must be fully transparent.

“The fresh open tender exercise was carried out last year with seven interested applicants. The PDC Board decided in its Fe 9, 2010 meeting to select a company that offered a combined value of more than RM40 million to BJCC over 10 years.

“The company selected has a track record, and most importantly, its paid up capital is not RM2.”

The DAP leader also asserted that open tenders and government contracts needed to be looked at objectively, based solely on “performance and public interest”.

Lim’s statement comes as his DAP-led state government in Penang continues to attract criticisms from his PKR allies.

Besides Zahrain, another Penang PKR leader, Tan Tee Beng, also lashed out at Lim by stating that he was “a leader without class who practised vengeful politics”.

Both Zahrain and Tan have been referred to PKR’s disciplinary board.

[Source : The MalaysianInsider]

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