KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 6): Former education minister Datuk Mahdzir Khalid, who held the post between July 2015 and May 2018, is the fifth witness in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's solar project graft trial.

In his witness statement, Mahdzir said he was asked to terminate an existing contract using generator sets (genset) to power schools in Sarawak, to make way for Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd's proposal to use solar hybrid energy instead.

Jepak had sent a letter dated Nov 23, 2015 to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who minuted it and then sent it to the Education Ministry, saying he agreed to terminate the old genset system and put the new one in place.

The contract for the existing genset contract was until Dec 31, 2016.

Mahdzir said he was reluctant as it was not a straightforward process to cancel the existing contract and it would be against the administrative processes practised.

Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah, the partner to Jepak managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin, then questioned the minister, saying "Why is it so hard to do? You already have been instructed by the prime minister," the former minister testified.

Najib is the husband of Rosmah, and was premier for nine years until May 2018, when Pakatan Harapan won the 14th General Election.

Rosmah has been charged with soliciting RM187.5 million from Jepak to secure a solar hybrid energy contract for rural schools in Sarawak worth RM1.25 billion, and receiving RM6.5 million cash in bribes.

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