The move to seize more than RM1bil from the bank account of China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Ltd (CPP) is a “company specific” action, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
“I wish to stress that the action taken was against the company and not the country (of its origin).
“The action is company-specific and not country-specific,” he said when answering a question raised by Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu) in Parliament on Wednesday (July 17).
Lim added that the action to seize the money was initiated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in order to recover money overpaid under a gas pipeline project stretching 600km along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and a 662km gas pipeline in Sabah.
Lim justified the action, saying it was done to protect the nation’s interest.
“If we feel that the company has not carried out work to benefit the rakyat, then the government has a responsibility to safeguard national interest,” he said.
He added that negotiations were still on-going with the company on the recovery efforts, with the actual amount to be determined after a due diligence exercise.
He said the Attorney General’s Chambers would be handling the legal matters to reclaim the overpaid money.
On Monday (July 15), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government was entitled to recover the money after the project was shelved.
Among the main issue was the payment of 80% of the pipeline project even though only 13% of work was completed.
The project began in 2016 under the former government through a venture undertaken by Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd, a company wholly owned by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, and CPP as the project’s engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contractor.
The project was cancelled in July last year following questions raised over payment on RM9.4bil project that was seen as lopsided.