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Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Penang on Saturday, 30th May 2009: 

Acting on Najib’s open invitation, my first three questions to Ong Tee Keat about Malaysia’s latest “Scandal of Scandals” – the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) rip-off

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has directed Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat to respond to queries involving the audit report on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).

He said Ong would provide the necessary information on the report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released on Thursday, adding:

“I have asked Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat to provide answers on every question raised by any party on the audit report.”

Speaking to reporters after the Umno supreme council meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Najib said Ong will provide the explanation to all questions about the PwC report on the PKFZ.

Acting on Najib’s invitation, I am asking my first three questions about Malaysia’s latest “Scandal of Scandals” – the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) rip-off.

1. Why did Ong break his public pledge made in his first month as Transport Minister on 7th April 2008 that he would “tell all” about the PKFZ scandal, as “the rakyat has a right to know the truth” by restricting the terms of reference of the PricewaterhouseCooper audit inquiry to “a position review” instead of the wide-ranging and all-out investigation into PKFZ scandal?

PwC report had specifically drawn attention to its very narrow and restricted term of reference, when it stated:

“The report is limited in scope. It is restricted to a position review of Port Klang Free Zone and Port Klang Free Zone Sdn. Bhd as set out in our Letter of Engagement dated 8th October 2008. We were not asked to and we have not advised on any strategy, valuation, legal implications, tax, operational effectiveness, staff competencies or process improvement. No investigation to detect any wrongdoing or audit to form an opinion on any financial information, including any forecasts and projections, has been undertaken.” (p.1)

Can Ong explain why he had decided on such a limited and restricted term of reference of the PwC study, deliberately excluding from inquiry the conduct or misconduct of previous Transport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy in the PKFZ scandal, as well as not asking PwC to detect any wrong doing or render advice on “any strategy, valuation, legal implications, tax, operational effectiveness, staff competencies or process improvement”?

2.Does Ong agree that the PwC report has exposed the PKFZ scandal as not just a “can of worms” but a “swamp of crocodiles” snowballing from a RM1.8 billion scandal in 2002 under Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik as Transport Minister, more than doubling to RM4.6 billion under Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy as Transport Minister and now mushrooming into the astronomical figure of a RM12.5 billion scandal under Ong’s watch as Transport Minister? When I went through the report and the three-and-half-inch high 20 appendices, my most vivid image was of “RIP-OFF” and I felt violated as a Malaysian citizen and Parliamentarian. Does Ong have such a feeling?

3. Does Ong agree that the RM12.5 billion PKFZ rip-off is a heinous crime and it must not be allowed to be another but bigger version of the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal which the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said 25 years ago as a “heinous crime but without criminals”?

RM12.5 billion is not chicken-feed. It is equivalent to five RM2.5 billion BMF scandals. RM12.5 billion can be used to build four Penang bridges, 25 universities at RM500 million each; 125 hospitals at RM100 million each; 1,250 schools at RM100 million each; 312,500 low-cost houses at RM40,000 each; declare amnesty from collecting assessment for 13 years for Selangor state or 45 years for Penang state; or give everyone of the 27 million Malaysians regardless of age a payout of RM338!

In fact it is like striking a RM1 Million price lottery each and every month non stop for the next 1,041 years!

What is Ong doing to bring to book all those responsible for the RM12.5 billion PKFZ rip-off, whether politicians named like MCA Deputy Finance Minister, Chor Chee Heung, or those unnamed like Liong Sik, Kong Choy, BBC Chairman Tiong King Sing or Semanta state assemblyperson Abdul Rahman Palil.

Najib has kicked the ball to Ong. I hope Ong will not kick to ball to somebody else and make the Prime Minister look foolish by not answering all queries about the PwC report on the PKFZ scandal.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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