Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Project awarded based on potential, not influence: Lajim


Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin said yesterday the electrified double-track railway project was awarded to a company with potential and not based on the company’s influence. Lajim said the company Ircon (International Limited) was also picked based on the success of (local) companies securing contracts to build highways in India. “What is wrong if someone, be they the children of the Prime Minister, or children of the Opposition, can strive to get contracts overseas. It is not wrong,” he said during the question- and-answer session of the Dewan Rakyat here yesterday. Lajim said this in reply to a question by Dr Mohamed Hayati Othman (PAS-Pendang) regarding the rise in the project cost from RM8 billion to RM16 billion as a result of projects given in reciprocation to companies closely linked to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The session was disrupted briefly as some backbenchers objected to the picture painted by the PAS representative that the company awarded the project was under the ‘armpit’ (ketiak) of the Prime Minister. Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Pandikar Amin Mulia then called on Members of Parliament not to use inappropriate words while the House was in session. Earlier in his reply, Lajim said the total cost of the project was RM 16.935 billion that is RM12.485 billion for the Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch and RM3.45 billion for the Seremban-Gemas length while the number of squatters re-settled for both phases till October 2007 was 1,607 families. - Bernama