Petron issue, Guan Eng denies cronyism

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Finance Minister , Lim Guan Eng. Photo credit: Lim Guan Eng’s Facebook Page

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 Sep – The government is still trying to counter the backlash from its appointment of Petron as a supplier of fuel for government vehicles, saying that the process had started under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in a statement that Petron Fuel International had applied to become fuel providers for government vehicles two years ago.

Not cronyism

According to Lim, since the process had begun at the time, there was no issue of cronyism as raised by some quarters.

“The Federal government is merely continuing the internal process based on existing guidelines,” Lim said.

He was especially referring to allegations of cronyism against Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose son Mirzan sits on the board of the Philippines-based Petron Corporation.

Only an administrative decision

Lim called out former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over his criticism on the issue, saying that as the former finance minister, the latter is well aware of the application by Petron, as well as BHP and Caltex, to become fuel suppliers to the government.

“The decision was purely administrative and not operational,” he said.

Lim added that the application was never referred to Dr Mahathir nor himself, hence  there was no question of political interference or cronyism in the appointment of Petron.

Until last week, the only approved suppliers were Petronas and Shell.

Lim also said that Petron’s application for a supply licence, called the indent card, is open to all major petrol companies and not limited to just one.

The more suppliers the cheaper the cost

“The number of panel members is not limited and can be widened because the more suppliers apply the cheaper the cost is for the federal government.”

He added that Petron was only appointed as a supplier panel member after a two-year negotiation.

Last week, an image of the letter appointing Petron as a supplier to the government went viral, with many quarters also criticising the government on the issue.

The Finance Ministry had earlier issued a statement stating that Petron is not sole supplier of fuel to the government.

-NMT