Call for bi-partisan support in March/April Parliament for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal

Anyone game for a bet – whether the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) “mother of all scandals” had ever been raised or discussed at the Cabinet meeting today?

I am not privy to what happened in Cabinet today or any other information covered by the Official Secrets Act (OSA) but I would not hesitate betting that the subject of PKFZ scandal never cropped up in today’s Cabinet meeting – although two days ago, a second former Cabinet Minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy walked free from High Court when the Attorney-General withdrew all charges against him in connection with the PKFZ scandal.

The acquittal of Chan, following the acquittal last October of Chan’s predecessor as former Transport Minister Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik of three charges of cheating the government in relation to the PKFZ scandal, should be urgent and weighty subjects for today’s Cabinet meeting – that is if the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is serious about the wanting to make corruption part of Malaysia’s past not its future, or the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department on governance and integrity, Datuk Paul Low is making a difference in Cabinet and government not just a cipher and the post-13GE Najib Cabinet is a Transformation Cabinet with anti-corruption as one of its top priority agendas and not the worst “half-past six Cabinet” in history.

I would imagine that the Cabinet Ministers and the top Umno/Barisan Nasional leaders must have sighed with relief at the double acquittal of the two former Transport Ministers marking their success to keep the “mother of all scandals” under wraps and the last thing anyone of them wants to do is to “stir the hornets’ nest” and give the demands for accountability a fresh lease of life.

But the double acquittal of the two former Transport Ministers who were former No. 1 and No. 2 MCA leader in a space of less than three months have caused great disappointment, frustration, pain and despair to Malaysians who had hoped in the recovery and restoration of the credibility, integrity and professionalism of the many world-class Malaysian institutions and system badly undermined, damaged and even destroyed in the past three decades starting with the 22-year Mahathir premiership.

This has even led the former Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng to suggest in despair that the Attorney-General might as well withdraw all prosecutions connected to the multibillion-ringgit PKFZ scandal – to save more money, spare witnesses as well as not to cause injustices to the “small fries” who are left to take the rap for the scandal.

I don’t think we should give way to despair and accept that the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal is, to revisit Tun Dr. Mahathir’s infamous RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) in the early eighties, “a heinous crime without criminals”.

If Najib wants to make corruption part of Malaysia’s past and not its future, then his administration must re-strategise to consider how to bring the culprits responsible for the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal to book, not just the “small fries” but also the “sharks” whether in government or politics.

What has Paul Low, the Minister for governance and integrity, to offer in terms of bringing the culprits for the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal to justice – or must the Malaysians taxpayers continue to be the final and only suckers in having to pay the price of this latest of Barisan Nasional financial scandals?

If the Prime Minister, the Minister for governance and integrity (I do not expect the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is capable or dare to make any contribution in this regard), have come to the end of road and are entirely hopeless and helpless, then there is the one last resort left – which is the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

I would call for bi-partisan support when Parliament reconvenes on March 10 for a 20-day meeting till April 10 for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal or Malaysia will be international laughing stock as “land of mega-scandals without criminals”.

Will Najib, Pau Low, the Cabinet and Barisan Nasional MPs support such a bi-partisan motion in Parliament to prove the world wrong that Malaysia is a land of mega-financial scandals without criminals?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah