By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid | Malaysiakini

The Public Works Department (PWD) received directives from the Finance Ministry in 2020 over proposed contractors for the Jana Wibawa programme, the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court heard.

Retired senior director of PWD contract and material measurement unit Zulkipeli Yamat said the Finance Ministry directives began coming in after a meeting on Dec 8, 2020.

He was testifying on the selection of contractors for construction projects under Jana Wibawa during today’s corruption and money laundering trial against Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

While under examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Rasyidah Murni Azmi, the seventh prosecution witness said the meeting was on the implementation of the Jana Wibawa programme.

The meeting was chaired by the treasury secretary-general at the Finance Ministry office in Putrajaya, Zulkipeli added.

The 60-year-old retiree said then PWD director-general Zulkefly Sulaiman attended the meeting as the department’s representative.

“Beginning from that meeting, PWD began receiving directives from the Finance Ministry via the contractor appointment proposal letter for each construction project under the Jana Wibawa programme,” Zulkipeli told trial judge Rozina Ayob.

The criminal trial resumes tomorrow, with Zulkipeli expected to continue testifying over the tender evaluation report for the “Central Spine Road Project: Sertik to East Coast Expressway Intersection”.

Last year, Wan Saiful claimed trial to 18 money laundering counts involving RM5.59 million and two charges of soliciting and accepting RM6.9 million in bribes.

On the corruption charges, the 47-year-old allegedly solicited bribes from Lian Tan Chuan as an inducement to help Nepturis Sdn Bhd secure the RM232 million intersection project from the government during the pre-qualification stage.

The former Bersatu information chief was also accused of accepting RM6,962,694.54 in cash for himself through his company WSA Advisory Group Sdn Bhd’s CIMB Bank account from the Maybank Islamic account belonging to Nepturis, as a reward for helping the company obtain a letter of acceptance for the project.

Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan

The two offences were purportedly committed in Kuala Lumpur — one at the Royal Lake Club, Taman Tasik Perdana, and the other at CIMB Bank Bukit Tunku branch between April and Sept 30, 2022.

Jana Wibawa

Jana Wibawa, or Program Jana Ekonomi Pemerkasaan Kontraktor Bumiputera (Bumiputera Contractor Empowerment Economic Generation Programme), was introduced in November 2020 during Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration.

In a parliamentary reply on Dec 16, 2021, then-Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz laid out two purposes for the programme.

The first was to expedite the delivery of government projects to help stimulate Malaysia’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery.

The second was to help bumiputera contractors in the construction industry build capacity to become more competitive.

Counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad and Chetan Jethwani acted for Wan Saiful.