Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the Serdang DAP Branch’s 42nd anniversary dinner in Seri Kembangan, Selangor on Saturday, 13th June 2009 at 10 pm:
Will Ong Tee Keat drop everything in France and take the first flight back to discharge his paramount duty as Minister – to fully account to Parliament on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal?
My three questions (No.46 to No. 48 on the 16th day in the current series) to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal today are:
No. 1. – I commend Ong for the prompt answer to my third question yesterday, viz: “As Parliament is periodically asked to approve allocations for the multi-billion ringgit bailout of PKFZ, is Ong ensuring that every MP gets a copy of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit report of PKFZ, together with the appendices, to ensure that there could be an informed debate and discussion of the issue in Parliament?”
The government portal on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal, www.pkfznews.com.my, announced today that “All MPs to have a copy of the PwC report, including the appendices”.
I am glad that Ong had changed his mind. At the two-day Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 10/11), Ong had refused to revoke his directive to the Port Klang Authority (PKA) Chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng restricting the access of PAC members to the four-inch high appendices only during the PAC meeting.
This is a most ridiculous and unacceptable directive totally contrary to all concept of accountability and transparency as well as the important principle of responsibility to Parliament.
I had proposed to ask all MPs on Monday to support a joint motion to censure Ong for contempt of Parliament in refusing to give unrestricted access of the appendices of the PcW Report on PKFZ to the PAC members.
I am confident that this will get the support not only of the 83 Pakatan Rakyat MPs but also Barisan Nasional MPs who cherish and understand the principle of Ministerial responsibility and accountability to Parliament, as the PwC Report and its appendices should not only be made available to PAC members but to all MPs as well!
Ong’s last-minute change of mind has saved the MCA President from the ignominy of a parliamentary censure motion which is not only supported by 83 PR MPs but also by conscientious BN MPs as well, who could differentiate and understand the importance of the distinction between party and parliamentary roles.
The last-minute intervention by Ong is proof that Ong is micro-managing every decision affecting the Port Klang Authority and the PKFZ issue and he should drop all pretences claiming otherwise to indulge in the hypocrisy of claiming credit where he could and disclaiming responsibility when faced with embarrassing questions.
My first question to Ong today is whether he would issue immediate directive for the three-and-a-half-inch high appendices to be put up online, giving easy access to every Malaysian interested about the “mother of all scandals” to scrutinise and give their input on the documentation involved.
Question No. 2 – The PwC audit report on the PKFZ, which was put online by PKA for two weeks from May 28 to June 10, was taken off the PKA website on Wednesday evening (June 10).
The very next day, Thursday June 11, as a national service, I had restored online the PwC report on the PKFZ scandal which is available on a site available on my blog entry “The PwC report on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal which PKA has taken off the Internet”.
This greatly embarrassed Ong and the PKA and the PwC report was surreptitiously put back online on a new PKA website on Friday.
However, the PwC report on the PKFZ available from my blog is more user-friendly and in accordance with the principles of accountability and transparency than from the official PKA website, because the official website does not allow the PwC report to be downloaded, printed or copy-and-paste, which can be done from the PwC report available from my blog.
My second question to Ong today is: will he instruct the PKA to remove all the user-unfriendly features of the PwC report on PKFZ on the official website so that interested members of the public can download, print or copy-and-paste. Furthermore, whether he will instruct the PKA to do the same when the PwC Report Appendices are placed online to ensure that they are equally user-friendly.
My third question to Ong is why he had slipped overseas in so stealthy and secretive a manner as if he has a lot of things to hide, when any overseas trip by a Minister should be a very public and transparent affair.
In view of advent of the era of information and communications technology, where information travels at the speed of light in an 24/7 era, these three questions can reach Ong wherever he has travelled to on this planet.
Is he now aware that his paramount duty as Transport Minister is to give satisfactory accounting to Parliament when it meets on issues of national interest, and as the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal is now one such issue, whether he will drop everything in France and take the first flight back to discharge his paramount duty as Minister – to fully account to Parliament on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor