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20Jan94 UK: 'PM BACKED PERGAU' - UK SUBSIDISES MALAYSIAN DAM.

Prime Minister John Major insisted personally that £234 million of taxpayers' money should be ploughed into a controversial hydro-electric dam project in Malaysia.The Pergau dam was built by a joint venture called Kerjaya Balfour Beatty Cementation.This emerged when MPs on the public accounts committee questioned top overseas aid civil servant Sir Tim Lankester on Monday. It followed a critical report on the project by parliamentary auditors, which said it had been a waste of money.Sir Tim said he had opposed the dam as a 'bad buy'.He surprised the MPs by revealing that it went ahead only after Mr Major's personal intervention.Labour MPs have claimed Britain's involvement in the project was linked to an arms deal with Malaysia, and may have been illegal as a result. CONSTRUCTION NEWS