21st September 2018
MORE THAN 350 LOPSIDED CONTRACTS – SHOCKING!!!
The revelation by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas on 20 September that there are more than 350 lopsided contracts favouring counterparties drawn by the previous Barisan National-led government is simply shocking. This is shocking with triple exclamation marks.
According to the A-G, these lopsided contracts involved highways, services, private financed build-lease-maintain-transfer, ports, and procurement. Three or four lopsided contracts with China’s companies in the infrastructure projects are bad enough. But more than 350 contracts not in the favour of the government is simply shocking and shameful. It is no wonder our economy has remained stagnant in growth.
Despite being a nation rich in natural resources and blessed with oil, we are not a high-income nation. We are in a middle-income trap since being categorized as a middle-income economy from 1992. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth slowed from annual average of 9.1% during that period to the current average of 4.8%.
The shocking high numbers of lopsided contracts obviously provided ill-gotten wealth to many. There is disparity in income distribution. Rising inequality in income with disparity between the top 20% income earners and the bottom 40% is widening. No amount of BRIM payouts could satisfy the financially stressed lower income group, and it made the much-touted New Transformation Programme under the previous regime sounded hollow.
Patriot would like to see the culprits responsible for the more 350 lopsided contracts to be seriously dealt with. A special team needs to be formed to renegotiate the terms of the contracts. If necessary, corruption charges or criminal breach of trust be brought against politicians and civil servants involved. This includes those contracts already performed and closed.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
President, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan