Malaysia

Dr M mocks reporter over nepotism claim

The usually-accommodating Dr Mahathir took exception with the reporter’s imputation. — File picThe usually-accommodating Dr Mahathir took exception with the reporter’s imputation. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today pointedly told the media to report that he had instructed Petronas to award a lucrative multimillion ringgit petroleum contract to his son, after a journalist suggested nepotism in the deal involving SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd.

“Yes, of course. He is given it because I instructed Petronas. Put that in your paper,” he sniped.

“Of course. I presided over everything. I told them (Petronas), ‘please give to my son and not to anybody else,’” the country’s longest serving prime minister said.

Dr Mahathir was speaking at a press conference held after he received a patron award from the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) at the Rennaissance Hotel here.

Earlier, event organisers had instructed the media to confine their queries to town planning and any other issue related to the function and the MIP.

But the usually amicable Dr Mahathir later agreed to field a question on the ongoing controversy surrounding a remark that an opposition MP had issued regarding religion.

After the question, a journalist asked if there was any “conflict of interest” in the award of two contracts worth RM836 million to SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd, where Dr Mahathir’s son, Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, is executive vice-chairman.

“That is what I’ve been doing all the time,” Dr Mahathir continued in his tirade. “Even the time when I was prime minister, everything goes to my children.

“But when everything goes to the children of other PMs, you don’t want to mention because he is a nice man. He enables you to read, isn’t it?” he said, a smile firmly on his face.

The press conference was concluded a few seconds later, after Dr Mahathir offered a curt reply to another question.

According to a Reuters report last week, Allied Marine & Equipment Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of SapuraKencana Petroleum, was awarded a RM700 million underwater services contract  for three and a half years by Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

Another wholly-owned unit, Kencana HL Sdn Bhd, was awarded a RM135.8 million engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract from HESS Exploration and Production Malaysia BV for an integrated gas project in the Kamelia Field in the North Malay Basin.

Both contracts were announced in two stock exchange filings last Thursday.

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