KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 – The company said to have won a government contract to print security labels for liquors allegedly due to its ties with a federal minister insisted today that it was secured the job through open tender. Lembah Sari Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Datuk Haris Onn Hussein, dismissed allegations made by DAP Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua that it had won the RM77 million contract through direct negotiations.

Haris is the brother of Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. “Lembah Sari Sdn Bhd participated in an open tender by JKDM (the Customs Department) and was subsequently awarded the contract aimed at controlling and monitoring excise collection while protecting government revenue.

“As a company with close to 10 years of experience and expertise in the provision of total solutions for government excise/tax revenue protection, brand protection and security solutions and products, it provides services to design, print, store, supply and distribute security products including banderols (tax stamps),” it said.

The company also included a link to the Customs Department’s website that it said was proof that it had won the tender through open bidding. A check of the website, however, showed no details other than that of the Customs Department stating that the winner of the bid is Lembah Sari. On Wednesday Pua asked Putrajaya to explain if the decision to employ Lembah Sari was done in the best interest of the people since consumers are likely to bear the brunt of a possible rise in liquor prices caused by the new security label system.

Business daily The Edge had reported on September 12 that the same company was awarded the contract to design, print, store, supply and distribute banderols (tax stamps) for liquor (including beer) between 2014 and 2019, effectively making it the sole company to produce security labels for liquors and cigarettes in the country.

Lembah Sari already owns a concession to print security labels for all local and imported cigarettes, a contract won in 2006. Pua had noted that when Lembah Sari took over the concession to print security labels for cigarettes from Kod Effisien in 2006, prices of cigarettes rose. He then said despite the rising costs due to the implementation of the new security labels, Putrajaya have not succeeded in stamping out cigarettes smuggling.

Hishammuddin yesterday denied that there was any corruption in the deal, adding that he saw no conflict of interest as the contract was not awarded by his ministry. He also said if his brother was corrupt, the scrutiny should be directed to Haris and that he will not provide any personal protection for his brother.

Credit : The Rakyat Post

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