Najib brushes off finance minister Guan Eng's allegations of a $3.2 billion scandal

PHOTO: Reuters

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) has downplayed allegations of a RM9.4bil gas pipeline projects scandal raised by Lim Guan Eng, stressing that all laws and relevant procedures were complied with during negotiations and the execution stage.

The former prime minister was responding to the Finance Minister, who revealed that the Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) and the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) projects totalling RM9.4bil, was "kept hidden" under the red files from most officials in the Treasury.

Najib said that he and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of the RM9.4bil project during his visit to Beijing on May 14 last year.

"The two pipeline projects which will be of much economic and energy security benefits to Malaysia were negotiated on a government-to-government basis with the People's Republic of China," he said in a Facebook posting on Tuesday (June 5).

"Not forgetting the commitment by China that assisted our oil palm smallholders and contributed to their income and welfare through the purchase of more oil palm," he added.

Meanwhile, Najib cautioned Lim from making politically-motivated allegations, as it may adversely impact foreign relations and trade involving Malaysia.

A similar stance was taken by former finance ministry communications director Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, who said Lim should furnish more details to back his allegations.

Earlier, Lim, during a press conference, raised suspicion over the project as 88% of the RM9.4bil project had already been paid to the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB) despite only 13% completion of the of work.

Lokman pointed out that the CPPB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the China government-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which was listed as number four in the 2017 Fortune 500 global companies with revenues of US$263bil (RM1.048 trillion) last year.

Lokman added that further checks showed CPPB was one of the top pipeline builders in the world and had completed more than 10,000km of pipelines.

"Given their strength and track record, is Lim alleging that the CPPB or CNPC may not complete the two projects on-time after receiving this payments?" he asked.

Lokman said that it was not unusual for construction projects to have differing payment schedules and construction milestones.

"This could be due to the government-to-government negotiations related to the soft loan given by the China government.

"Perhaps the Finance Ministry can disclose the entire agreement for the public to examine why the payment milestones were structured this way?" he said.

Lokman said that Lim's revelation of an alleged scandal as damaging, as it is implied that the Chinese government had colluded with the Malaysian government in corrupt practices.

"This can only be negative for our diplomatic and trading relations… If there is wrongdoing, let the relevant authorities investigate first.

"The Pakatan Harapan government should stop making political allegations via press conferences in their attempt to continue bad-mouthing the previous Barisan Nasional government," he added.

Malaysian police search places linked to ousted PM Najib

  • The cash and items seized from the six residences linked to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak amounted to between RM900 million (S$304 million) and RM1.1 billion, say the police.
  • He said that more than 12,000 pieces of jewellery - comprising 2,200 rings, 1,400 necklaces, 2,100 bracelets, 2,800 pairs of earrings,1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras were seized.
  • He added that this was the biggest seizure in Malaysian history.
  • Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor arrived at the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to have her statement recorded in connection with a suspicious transfer of about $10.6 million (S$14.2 million) from the former 1MDB unit SRC International.
  • The sum is just a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, the state fund that Najib set up, in a scandal that dogged the last three years of his near-decade-long rule and was a key reason why he was voted out in a May 9 election.
  • M. Puravalen, a lawyer acting for Najib and Rosmah in connection with the SRC investigations, told Reuters on Tuesday he had "ceased acting" for Najib and Rosmah.
  • He said a second lawyer, Yusof Zainal Abideen, had also quit.
  • Puravalen, Abideen and other members of their legal team were reported to have walked out because they failed to reach common ground with Najib on several issues.
  • Najib has already made a series of statements to anti-graft investigators
  • but attention has shifted to his wife after police discovered hundreds of luxury handbags and a stash of jewelry and cash during raids on apartments linked to Najib and his family.
  • Malaysian police have seized 284 boxes filled with designer handbags, watches, jewellery and cash in various currencies from three luxury condominiums.
  • Comm Amar said the designer handbags were of various brands including Louis Vuitton and Birkin bags from Hermes.
  • He added that it was impossible for police to estimate the value of the items seized because there were just too many items and cash seized.
  • He also said that the apartment was not owned by Najib but a "Tan Sri".
  • Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Amar Singh, who led the raids at Pavilion Residences here said this was part of its investigations into 1MDB.
  • This follows a police check of six locations linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here and in Putrajaya, including the Prime Minister's Office, his official residence as well as four other residences.
  • When asked whether Najib would be arrested, he said: "There is no indication that they (the police) will do it."
  • He said Najib and his family were cooperative with police. "They (the police) also acted professionally," he said.
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