KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of ‘lopsided’ contracts were signed by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) led government, according to Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas.
“Internally, there are hundreds of such contracts. But what we didn’t realise is the number involved. We have highway contracts, services contracts, private finance (initiatives) which are build-lease-maintain-and-transfer (46 of them), ports, etc," he told an online news portal.
“Many categories - there are over 350 contracts of that nature. Also, procurement contracts - we just drew a line - and that’s over 300 contracts of them,” said Thomas.
Thomas also revealed that there were unsung heroes in the AG's Chambers who put up a fight against the deals only to be overridden by their ministers.
“They are unsung heroes. They are civil servants, and the previous prime minister and Finance Ministry just brushed them aside,” added Thomas.
He said that while the officers were familiar with the contracts, the trouble with the deals was that they were “very favourable to the counterparties and unfavourable to the government".
“We are trying to be creative and imaginative. At least two or three times a week, I spend hours with the contracts review lawyers. My corporate commercial litigation experience is combined with the draftsmen and technical advisers in the Chambers,” he said.
Earlier Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad lambasted his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration for its negotiation of contracts and deals.
He had remarked that “such stupidity has never been seen in the history of Malaysia”.
Dr Mahathir further criticised the two gas pipeline projects by Suria Strategic Energy Resources (SSER) where money was paid based on a timeline rather than work completion.
“I have never heard of a contract where you pay on time without work (being) done. Normally, we pay according to the work done. What kind of stupidity is this?” Dr Mahathir reportedly said.