Friday, 25 March 2011

Businessman’s tale of how he won ‘crooked bridge’ deal

Friday, 25 March 2011

Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — A businessman offered a glimpse into how government contracts are

secured when he told the High Court today his access to senior officials and influential ministers secured him

the rights to the Malaysia-Singapore International Gateway bridge project, better known as the “crooked

bridge”.

“It was all based on my effort,” Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah told the court today.

Shazryl Eskay said that, in addition to approaching the late Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayub for help, he had

also helped second defendant, Datuk Yahya A. Jalil, gain access to then-deputy prime minister Datuk Seri

Anwar Ibrahim.

But Shazryl Eskay was quick to stress that he did not have any power over either Megat Junid or Anwar,

and insisted that he got the contract through the merits of the project and the companies involved.

“I did not influence them, but convinced them,” Shazryl Eskay said.

He had filed a lawsuit in January 2002, claiming breach of contract by Merong Mahawangsa Sdn Bhd and

Yahya for failing to pay him RM20 million after he procured the project for them.

In his statement of claim, Shazryl Eskay said Yahya, executive director and major shareholder of Merong

Mahawangsa, had enlisted his help to procure the project from the government and to secure RM640 million

in foreign funds for the project.

He claimed the second defendant had sought his help for his “discretion and good relations” with the

government.

Shazryl Eskay said the second defendant suggested RM20 million in remunerations for his services, which

has not been paid.

The “crooked bridge” project was terminated by the Abdullah administration in 2006.

Shazryl Eskay is seeking a RM20 million payment from the defendants as well as interest, costs and other

relief deemed fit by the court.

Yahya, however, in his defence statement denied using the plaintiff’s close ties with the government and

Megat Junid’s family as it was “against public policy, wild and illegal”.

The court was also told today that Shazryl Eskay and Yahya had started talks to settle the matter out of

court to avoid “embarrassing some personalities involved”.

Justice VT Singham, however, ordered the trial to continue until such a settlement is reached.

He also rejected a request by Yahya’s lawyer to adjourn the matter until the latter returns from a business

trip to Jeddah with former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

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