Flood Mitigation, COVID Relief & 5G Network: Malaysia’s PM to Review Predecessor’s Projects
05:14 GMT 06.12.2022 (Updated: 05:43 GMT 06.12.2022)
Malaysia's King Abdullah of Pahang recently declared Anwar Ibrahim - chairman of the opposition party Pakatan Harapan (the Alliance of Hope) - to be the country's new prime minister in an attempt to resolve the cabinet crisis that followed the general elections on 19 November.
Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s newly appointed prime minister
, has announced a review of government projects worth billions of ringgit that his predecessor, Muhyiddin Yassin, had signed off on.
From flood mitigation to COVID-19 pandemic relief packages and a plan for a state-owned 5G network, projects that had been introduced and approved by the previous government are now up for scrutiny by the new administration.
Ibrahim, a leader of the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition, rose to the Asian nation's top job after he was declared the 10th prime minister by King Abdullah of Pahang late in November. His appointment was an attempt to end the political stalemate
that emerged after no party or bloc got enough votes to form a majority government in the elections on 19 November.
According to Ibrahim, who also holds the finance portfolio in the Cabinet, “tens of billions of ringgit” in pandemic relief had been allocated without due procedure by Yassin during his tenure as prime minister from March 2020 to August 2021.
He warned Yassin, who now leads the opposition after his party, Malay-based Perikatan Nasional (PN), got 73 seats in the 222-seat parliament, not to “challenge him”, telling the media:
“…It’s clear there were several processes and procedures that weren’t followed, and there were companies with vested interests or linked to families.”
Referring to the approximately 83Bln ringgit ($19Bln) spent by Malaysia on pandemic-related aid such as vaccine purchases and wage subsidies, Yassin responded by writing on his Facebook* account:
“Not a single sen entered my personal accounts. I am not afraid to be investigated because I know I didn’t divert the people’s funds that were entrusted to the government to use for the purpose of helping the people during difficult times.”
The former prime minister also pointed out that if it had been otherwise, it would already have been identified by the National Audit Department and the central bank.
24 November 2022, 05:39 GMT
Regarding flood-mitigation projects, Ibrahim indicated that some 7Bln ringgit had been reportedly approved by Yassin through direct negotiations - something he intends to ensure will not be repeated.
As for the plan for a state-owned 5G network, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) was launched by Yassin in 2021. Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson was named as the project's 5G development partner. However, at the time, it was reported that single-ownership had caused concern among the country's major carriers, as they questioned issues with pricing, transparency and monopoly.
Ibrahim emphasized that the 5G project would now be reviewed amid claims that there had been "no proper tender process".
"It needs to be reviewed because it was not done in a transparent manner," Ibrahim told a press briefing.
25 November 2022, 15:28 GMT
*Meta (Facebook and Instagram) is banned in Russia over extremist activities.