Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 6th September 2009:
Cabinet should establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to conduct a no-holds-barred investigation into the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal to unearth all the abuses of power and criminal breach of trust even at Ministerial and Cabinet level right from the beginning of the project
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the Cabinet will discuss the ramifications of the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal on Wednesday and decide on the next course of action on the PKFZ “mother of all scandals”.
Yesterday, Najib was briefed by the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, the PKFZ Task Force headed by its chairman, lawyer Vinayak Pradhan and the police on the PKFZ scandal.
Firstly, why was the police at the briefing. Secondly, why wasn’t the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) involved in the briefing, although various reports of financial improprieties had been lodged as far back three years ago if the Najib administration is serious about wanting to uphold integrity and good governance?
Although there is now finally admission that the PKFZ scandal is not only a “can of worms” but a “swamp of crocodiles”, the whole story of the “mother of all scandals” have yet to be unearthed.
For instance, from the comments of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid on its inquiry into the PKFZ scandal, it would appear that the PAC is leaning towards putting the blame of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal purely on the Port Klang Authority (PKA) level, in particular the former PKA chief executive officer Datin Paduka O.C.Phang for “very weak” management but is not prepared to probe to a higher level to ascertain the extent of ministerial or Cabinet responsibility.
It may be understandable why Azmi does not want the PAC to probe into the degree of ministerial and Cabinet culpability for the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal as he was himself a member of the former Cabinet which took the decision in July 2007 on a RM4.6 billion bail-out of he PKFZ scandal by giving retrospective approval for the four illegal Letters of Support unlawfully issued by the two former Transport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy which had landed the government and the country in the “mother of all scandals”.
However, this can be no excuse why a full and comprehensive probe into the PKFZ scandal should stop at the level of the PKA and that of the PKFZ turnkey contractor, Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd (KDSB) and not go higher to ministerial and Cabinet levels.
This is the reason why I had objected to Azmi chairing the PAC probe into the PKFZ scandal as there is a clear case of conflict-of-interest in his former role as Minister involved in the Cabinet decision in July 2007 on the RM4.6 billion bailout of the PKFZ and his current role as the PAC Chairman heading the inquiry into the PKFZ scandal.
What is needed is a no-holds-barred inquiry into the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal to unearth all the abuses of power and criminal breach of trust not just at the PKA and PKFZ levels but all the way to Ministerial and Cabinet stages right from the beginning of the sorry saga of the PKFZ scandal a decade ago when the PKFZ proposal was first mooted with Liong Sik as the Transport Minister under the premiership of Tun Dr. Mahathir.
This can only be done by a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the PKFZ scandal and this is one of the decisions which the Cabinet should take on Wednesday.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor