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Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Bukit Mertajam on Sunday, 31st May 2009 at 8.30 am: 

My second set of three questions to Ong Tee Keat on Malaysia’s “Mother of All Scandals”, RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) Rip-Off – will Ong agree to a Royal Commission of Inquiry to “Tell All”?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on Friday that he had directed Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat to “provide answers on every question raised by any party” involving the PricewaterhouseCooper audit report on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).

I am still waiting for Ong’s response to my first three questions on Malaysia’s “Mother of All Scandals” – the RM12.5 billion PKFZ Rip-Off.

Ong should end his linguistic games and boldly admit that he had failed the public pledge he made in his first month as Transport Minister to “tell all” about the PKFZ scandal, that he would not condone or protect wrongdoers responsible for the PKFZ “Mother of All Scandals”, even though they were former top leaders, whether MCA or Barisan Nasional.

The following are the media reports of Ong’s first promise as Transport Minister in April 2008 to “Tell All” about the PKFZ Rip-off –

  • “Ong to tell all on the PKFZ – ‘I wish to reveal to the people the true situation’” (Star 8.4.08)


  • “Won’t consider whether former leaders would be investigated – Ong Tee Keat: Revealing the truth is about the issue and not personalities” (Sin Chew 9.4.08)

The Sun reported:

Asked when the report will be ready, he said it will be out soon once a thorough report is completed. “We will not just give a statement to explain everything.”

These statement by Ong in early April 2008 was reinforced by the New Straits Times report (8.4.08) which made it clear that the Transport Ministry was completing its own inquiry into the PKFZ Rip-Off, as this New Straits Times report said that:

  • the Transport Ministry will announce its findings on the PKFZ “soon”;

  • the Transport Ministry’s investigation “is currently ongoing”;

  • “the probe would reveal how the development cost has risen to RM4.6 billion, how to revive the free zone and also to identify those responsible for cost overruns”.

But suddenly, the Transport Ministry’s own investigations into the PKFZ Rip-0ff disappeared from the radar of the Transport Ministry, government and the public, as in its place, Ong announced a high-profiled inquiry by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

But what happened to Transport Ministry’s inquiry into the PKFZ which Ong said “would be out soon” long before the appointment of PwC to conduct an audit report on the PKFZ?

Was the Transport Ministry investigation aborted, and if not, what happened to its report and finding?

How many separate inquiries had been conducted by the Transport Ministry since the conception of the PKFZ concept and where are their reports?

Was there anything new in the PwC audit report which Ong had not known from the Transport Ministry’s files and records as well as from the Transport Ministry’s inquiry into PKFZ?

If so, then let Ong list out the matters and revelations in the PwC report which he had not known before from the Transport Ministry records and inquiry, and had learnt for the first time from the PwC audit report!

If there is nothing in the PwC audit report which Ong had not known earlier from Transport Ministry records, files and inquiries, then the PwC inquiry and report are a waste of public funds although it appeared to have played the role of allowing Ong to stall public accountability on the PKFZ Rip-Off!

Ong is alternating at different times between being all-powerful and all-impotent as Transport Minister in his relationship with the Port Klang Authority (PKA) Chairman.

He was all-powerful when he directed the chairman of PKA, Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, to submit a copy of the PwC report to MACC and Public Accounts Committee, but suddenly became all-impotent in claiming that he had no role to play in determining and limiting the terms of reference of the PwC audit study to a “position review”, excluding detection of “any wrongdoing” including the conduct or misconduct of previous Transport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy in the PKFZ scandal.

Ong should decide whether he is “all-powerful” or “all-impotent” vis-à-vis the PKA Chairman as he could not pick and choose to be “all-powerful” in certain issues but “all-impotent” in other areas with regard to PKA and the PKFZ!

As the PwC audit report is so unsatisfactory and unacceptable because of its restricted scope and limited terms of reference, will Ong agree to the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to conduct a thorough, indepth and wide-ranging investigation to bring to book all present and past characters who had played a role in the creation of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ monster scandal?

This is the first question of my second set of three questions to Ong on the PKFZ Rip-off for him to answer, as assigned to him by the Prime Minister.

Question No. 2 – What follow-up actions is Chan taking from the PwC audit report on the PKFZ scandal apart from directing the PKA Chairman to submit a copy each to MACC and the Parliamentary Accounts Committee?

In fact, Malaysians are entitled to know what actions Ong had taken to “clean house” in the PKA and PKFZ based on Transport Ministry’s own information and inquiries, or nothing whatsoever had been done by Ong as Transport Minister in the past 14 months despite both entities, PKA and PKFZSB, being run down to insolvency status and would have been declared bankrupt if not bailed out by public funds.

Otherwise the PKFZ scandal would not have been described as a “can of worms” or even 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?

Question No. 3 – This query is from the SMS of a member of the public, which reads:

“For the PKFZ project, government now only audit land and admin problems. They should also audit buildings that already completed and awarding of contract. I think a lot of rakyat money already wasted during award of contract to sub-contractors. In order to arrive at the true estimates of the construction costs, a Building Inspection and (Investigation) Audit has to be carried out to assess objectively any discrepancies and to quantify the non-compliance of Contract, Drawings and Specifications to that of currently completed works.

This exercise would include the overall audit of Architectural items, M & E installations, infrastructure and amenities/facilities built. The materials, quantity and costs can be compared against contract specifications and most importantly to confirm the quality and acceptability of construction work to acceptable standards undertaken so that the government can anticipate and factor the immediate and long term Maintenance, Repair and Replacement costs. Who knows if the quality and workmanship meet standards or are there more hidden problems that require more rakyat money for remedy?”

I take the Prime Minister at his word, that Ong has been instructed to answer all and every question from any person with regard to the PKFZ scandal. Ong must not disappoint the Prime Minister.

Before I conclude, I welcome Malaysians to send to me questions they have about the PKFZ scandal, for onward transmission to Ong for him to answer and take action.

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



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