Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 15th June 2009:
Did Ong Tee Keat get specific approval from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to be on the run from Parliament this week to avoid parliamentary accounting on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal?
My three questions (No.49 to No. 51 on the 17th 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. – Did Ong get specific approval from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to be on the run from Parliament this week to avoid parliamentary accounting on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal, when everybody knows that this will be top on the parliamentary agenda?
Furthermore, Ong should know that last Thursday I had given notice to the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin that I will move a motion of urgent definite public importance when Parliament reconvenes today on the PKFZ scandal calling for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry.
Or was Ong so cocksure that my motion for an urgent debate on the PKFZ scandal today would be rejected by the Speaker that he could just go off overseas, when his first duty as Transport Minister is to be accountable to Parliament for his Ministerial duties and not to scoot off overseas under one pretext or another, like his predecessor Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy in November 2007!
Did Ong get any indication from Parliament, whether Speaker or Deputy Speaker, that my urgent motion to debate the PKFZ scandal today, would definitely be thrown out?
Question No. 2 – New Straits Times reported today that Ong will make a ministerial statement on the PKFZ scandal next Monday and that he is “expected to answer all points raised by opposition MPs”.
I had in fact asked for a ministerial statement from Ong the previous Saturday on June 6 (No. 24 in the current series), viz:
“Parliament is meeting on Monday, June 15. Is Ong prepared to give a Ministerial statement on the PwC audit report on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ Rip-off, to be followed by a parliamentary debate on the Ministerial statement and the PwC audit report on the PKFZ?”
Instead of doing so, he has run off abroad and is now forced by increasing public pressures, including from inside Barisan Nasional and even MCA, to make a ministerial statement in Parliament.
But this ministerial statement should be made today and not next Monday. Is Ong prepared to cut short his Paris trip and rush back to Parliament to make a ministerial statement in Parliament on Wednesday or Thursday, to make amends for the contempt he has shown Parliament and MPs by scooting overseas without a proper parliamentary accounting of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal?
Is Najib prepared to send out a directive to Ong to cut short his Paris programme to be able to make such a ministerial statement in Parliament on Wednesday or Thursday, to drive home the point that his new government of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” must be taken seriously not only by the Malaysian people but also by Cabinet Ministers themselves?
New Straits Times said that in his ministerial statement, Ong “is expected to answer all points raised by Opposition MPs while outlining the measures taken by the government to save the project”.
Will Ong be answering everyone of the 51 questions I have posed in the past 17 days and at least another 51 questions I have on the PKFZ scandal?
MPs and Malaysians have lost confidence in what Ong is “expected” to do. The only way to ensure that Ong respond to all the points and issues crying out for answer about the PKFZ scandal, in particular how it could balloon from a RM1.1 billion scandal in 2002 under Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik as Transport Minister, more than quadrupled to RM4.6 billion under Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy as Transport Minister, and now doubling again to RM7.453 billion and heading towards an astronomical total cost of RM12.453 billion under Ong’s watch, is to have a full debate in the House.
Can Ong give an assurance that his Ministerial statement would be followed by a one-day debate in Parliament devoted to his Ministerial statement?
Question No. 3: Although Ong has finally “consented” (does Ong think he has become royalty?) to distribute the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit report on PKFZ and the appendices to MPs, and we are given to understand by the government portal on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal, www.pkfznews.com.my, that MPs could even get the report and appendices today, this is not the case.
I asked the Secretary of Parliament, Datuk Roosme binti Hamzah and she informed me that the PwC report on PKFZ with the appendices will be tabled in the House together with the Public Accounts Committe (PAC) report on the PKFZ scandal.
I do not expect the PAC report on the PKFZ scandal to be ready in time to be tabled in the current meeting of Parliament when it ends on 30th June as the PAC is having a third meeting on the PKFZ on Wednesday.
Furthermore, who will have confidence in the PAC report on the PKFZ scandal if the PAC Chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid refuses to disqualify himself and step aside in the PAC inquiry into the PKFZ scandal because of conflict of interest. Azmi was Minister in the Cabinet which decided on the RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout in July 2007.
What is the use of dangling the PwC report with the appendices in Parliament, promising to give them to MPs but not actually doing so, with the ridiculous condition that they must await the PAC report which would probably be tabled only at the end of the year?
Why can’t the PwC report and appendices be immediately tabled in Parliament amg given to MPs without waiting for the PAC report?
If on such a simple matter, the new Najib premiership cannot demonstrate its seriousness with regard to its motto “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”, how can there be any public confidence in the administration of the new Prime Minister?
Finally, is Ong going to apologise for the parliamentary contempt he committed when he restricted access of PAC members to the four-inch high appendices of the PwC report to the 5 total hours when the PAC met on Tuesday and Wednesday and refused to allow PAC members to take back the set of appendices for more detailed study?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor