DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng pointed out today that he has repeatedly addressed criticism of the Penang undersea tunnel project, which was initiated when he was chief minister of the state.
According to Lim, the finance minister, this was being ignored by former premier Najib Abdul Razak so as to deflect his own controversy of trying to sell a prized national asset in Hong Kong, allegedly at lower than market value.
Najib had insisted that Lim address the Penang tunnel issue before he talked about the attempted sale of the Malaysia Building in Hong Kong for RM1.1 billion through direct negotiation.
"I have repeatedly said that there are no problems with the undersea tunnel project as it was done through open tender.
"Furthermore, PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan, who claimed the project did not go through open tender, had also retracted his article in 2016, expressed regret and was ordered by the court to pay RM10,000 in a defamation case settlement with me," he said in a statement today.
The Penang government had called for a request for proposal (RPF) for the project, but critics have disputed whether an RFP can be considered open tender.
Putrajaya seeking higher bids
In contrast, Lim said Najib's attempted sale of the Malaysia Building was done through direct negotiation, which could have cost Malaysians RM500 million in potential profit.
The direct negotiation offer price of RM1.1 billion, he added, was significantly lower than the RM1.6 billion offer received when Putrajaya terminated the initial offer and called for an open tender.
However, Lim said the government is now trying to get an even higher offer by conducting an international open tender.
"The international open tender is now underway with a reserve price of RM1.6 billion in order to court higher offers.
"The people await his explanation over why his government had sought to sell the Malaysia Building through direct negotiation instead of open tender," his statement read.