BY CLARA CHOOI
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
PETALING JAYA, April 23 — Umno’s “six million dollar man” Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman was tied today to allegations of corruption and cronyism in the award of a RM1.3 billion 23-year concession to his company to build the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Tapah campus.
PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli claimed that Tajuddin’s firm, Detik Utuh Sdn Bhd, is not an active construction company and has no performance record in the industry.
He said that in an announcement to Bursa Malaysia in 2010, Detik Utuh’s partner joint venture partner for the mega project, Crest Builder Holdings Berhad, put the university’s construction cost at just RM285.89 million which, he said, was a justifiable sum.
But to make up the total concession value of RM1.3 billion, Rafizi (picture) said the concession agreement between the Higher Education Ministry, UiTM and the construction firms in May 2010 had also listed other hidden costs to be borne by the federal government.
Claiming to have sighted the agreement, Rafizi said these “special costs” include a monthly capacity charge of RM4.50 psf and a maintenance charge of RM1.146 psf per month, for the 23-year duration of the concession.
Taking into consideration that the size of the campus is 837,872 square feet, he said this meant that the federal government would have to fork out RM56.77 million a month for 23 years.
“This makes the cost of the project five times that the cost of the actual construction of the campus building,” he said.
According to previous media reports, Detik Utuh and Crest Builder formed a joint-venture firm called UniTapah Sdn Bhd as its special purpose vehicle for the concession, with joint shareholdings between the two firms at 51:49.
Tajuddin is the majority shareholder in Detik Utuh, a firm that Rafizi labelled an “Ali Baba company”.
Jokingly, the PKR leader said Tajuddin’s “six million dollar man” nickname should now be changed to “1.3 billion ringgit man”.
Tajuddin, who is defending his Pasir Salak parliamentary seat in Perak, was given the moniker after he was sacked from Umno in 1995 following allegations that he had paid RM6 million to secure his position as a division chief.
Rafizi took a swipe at Umno president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak for choosing Tajuddin as the “winnable candidate” for Pasir Salak, saying today’s expose on his RM1.3 billion deal proved he was not “clean” enough for the contest.
He challenged Tajuddin to answer his allegations by stating Detik Utuh’s track record in the construction industry, and answer why the project had not been awarded directly to a qualified firm instead of through a joint-venture initiative.
“Finally, and most importantly, Tajuddin must state how much of this RM1.3 billion from the concession he plans on contributing to his constituents in Pasir Salak,” Rafizi said, adding that Tajuddin should even be able to buy every single resident a car with the money he would make from the venture.
PKR’s “expose man” said he was not afraid to be hauled, yet again, to court over his latest allegation, insisting that he had sighted legitimate documents on the agreement.
He vowed that should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) win Putrajaya this May 5, it will include the RM1.3 billion contract as another dubious agreement signed on during BN’s time that must undergo another strict review.