Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the DAP Public Forum “The RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal – Will Heads Roll?” at the KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 10th June 2009:
Ong Tee Keat should be cited for parliamentary contempt in refusing to release the appendices of the PcW audit report on PKFZ scandal to PAC members, allowing them access only during PAC meeting
Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat should be cited for parliamentary contempt for refusing to release the appendices of the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit report on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal to Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members, allowing them access only during the PAC meeting.
It was Ong, in an oblique response to my queries, blogged from Beijing on 3rd June that he had instructed the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to submit 14 copies of the PwC audit report, “as well as the appendices”, to members of the PAC “as soon as possible”.
However, the PAC members were informed this morning that the 14 sets of appendices were only available for them during PAC meetings and not meant for them to take back for detailed study.
Such a ridiculous directive restricting access of the PwC Report appendices to PAC members during PAC meetings makes a total mockery of parliamentary responsibility and accountability of both the Transport Minister as well as PKA and should be deplored in the strongest possible terms.
Ong must be held responsible for such a ridiculous directive and should be cited for parliamentary contempt unless he withdraws the restriction and allow every PAC member to have a copy of the appendices so as to make proper study.
Earlier today, Ong announced a special task force and two committees as a follow-up to the PwC report on the PKFZ.
I have three immediate observations on the PKFZ special task force and two committees just announced.
Firstly, this falls far short of what Ong had promised in his blog from Beijing on 3rd June, where he said:
What is the outcome of these studies by the Transport Ministry in the past four months following the PwC report to “bring PKFZ back on track for which it was originally conceived”, as the PwC report was submitted as far back as early February?
Apparently, a Task Force to make more “in depth analysis and studies”!
The Transport Minister has taken four long months to study the PwC audit report only to come up with the decision that there should be a Task Force to make some more studies in the next two months to provide the PKA “the appropriate recommendations...for follow-up actions to be taken by the Government”!
What brilliance and competence!
Secondly, I have a sneaky suspicion that the “big announcement” of the establishment of the Task Force and two committees today is to serve one purpose – to give Ong the excuse to evade accountability on the PKFZ when Parliament reconvenes on Monday.
Ong will say when questioned on the PKFZ that MPs should wait for another two months for the outcome of the probe by the Task Force on the PwC report on PKFZ.
This will be the height of Ministerial and parliamentary irresponsibility and Ong can prove me wrong by coming to Parliament next week to give a full accounting on the PKFZ scandal and subjecting himself to intense parliamentary inquiry.
I will move a motion on the PKFZ scandal on Monday. Let Ong support a full parliamentary debate on the PwC audit report on PKFZ.
Thirdly, I have grave doubts about the efficacy of the measures announced today on the establishment of the Task Force and two committees, especially as Ong has scrupulously avoided the most important issue in the PKFZ scandal – how it could balloon from a RM1.1 billion scandal in 2002 under Tun Ling Liong Sik as Transport Minister, more than quadruple to RM4.6 billion under Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy in 2007 and now heading towards the astronomical figure of RM12.5 billion under Ong’s watch!
Although eminent and credible Malaysians in their respective professional fields have been recruited like Vinayak Pradhan from Skrine, who is heading the Task Force, Lim Chee Wee, partner of Skrine, Chin Kwai Fatt, managing director and Lim San Peen, Senior executive director of PwC Advisory Services Sdn. Bhd who are also on the Task Force; Transparency International Malaysia President Paul Low Seng Kuan and Nik Mohd Hasyudeen Yusoff, President of Malaysian Institute of Accountants who are respectively Chair and committee member of the Committee of Corporate Governance, the pertinent question is whether they could be effective.
I had described the PKFZ scandal as a “can of worms” but after going through the PwC report, I have changed the metaphor to a “swamp of crocodiles”.
What happens when you throw eminent and credible Malaysians in their respective professional fields into a “swamp of crocodiles”? Will they be able to discipline the crocodiles or will they end up eaten up by the crocodiles?
I worry and fear for the reputation of these eminent and credible Malaysians as it will be a great pity if their standing and credibility are soiled and sullied by their inability to straighten out the PKFZ “scandal of scandals”!
Malaysians have a right to get to the bottom of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal and the only way is by the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, where previous Transport Ministers Liong Sik and Kong Choy, PKA Chairmen and Board members, as well as the relevant government officials in the Transport Ministry and Finance Ministry are summoned to testify publicly their role in the “scandal of scandals”.
If no heads roll in the PKFZ scandal, then Malaysians must ensure that the heads of Barisan Nasional leaders must roll in the next general election!
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor