THE issue surrounding the approval of flood mitigation projects worth RM2 billion via direct negotiation during the caretaker government’s administration was raised to seek clarification from former environment and water minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli said.
He said he highlighted the issue to bring it to the public’s attention and encourage healthy public discourse.
Based on the defence statement filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on December 28 last year, Rafizi claimed the statements made during two press conferences at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, on November 7 and 9, 2022, were neither defamatory nor done with malicious intent.
“My real intention in making those press statements was to invite or encourage the plaintiff (Tuan Ibrahim) to respond to those media statements or to bring the issue of the authority’s transparency in awarding contracts for project implementation to the public’s attention, or to make the people aware of government procurement management during the caretaker period. The issue of transparency in spending public funds is an issue of public interest,” Rafizi said.
The Pandan MP also said he has information that there had been communication and a process of awarding specific projects under the Environment and Water Ministry to Mangkubumi Sdn Bhd.
In that regard, he said, Tuan Ibrahim as the minister in charge at the time and as the plaintiff should take up the challenge and explain the issue.
Rafizi said parties who benefit from his media statements are members of the public and taxpayers, and that it is wrong for Tuan Ibrahim to look at all that with a narrow point of view as if it was a personal issue between him and Tuan Ibrahim or PAS.
Tuan Ibrahim in his response to his defence said, among other things, that Rafizi made false allegations in his capacity as a politician and candidate for the Pandan parliamentary constituency during the campaign period for the general election, and used the slanderous statements as material for his election campaign.
Tuan Ibrahim’s lawyer Yusfarizal Yussoff when contacted said case management has been set for March 31.
In the suit filed on November 17, Tuan Ibrahim, among other matters, said the defamatory statement by Rafizi Ramli implied that during the caretaker government’s administration, Tuan Ibrahim was actively involved in negotiations, discussions and efforts to approve a project worth RM2 billion for Mangkubumi via direct bidding to carry out flood mitigation work in Sungai Langat. – Bernama, January 25, 2023.