Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Thursday, 2nd July 2009:
PAC decision to summon Liong Sik, Kong Choy, Attorney-General to testify on RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal lauded though belated
My three questions (No.100 to No. 102) on the 34th 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:
Question No. 1 – This is the second day that I am starting my “three questions a day” with a welcome.
Yesterday I welcomed the Port Klang Authority (PKA) Board decision on the withholding of RM660 million in the next drawdown of the government’s soft loan of RM4.6 billion to pay the PKFZ turnkey developer Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd. (KDSB) for the PKFZ land and construction.
Today I welcome the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) decision yesterday to summon in a fortnight the two former Transport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, as well as the Attorney-General, to testify over the PKFZ scandal. The PAC is also to summon the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) and MP for Bintulu Tiong King Sing, who is also the CEO of KDSB.
Last Wednesday, 10th April 2009, during the debate on the government bill to reallot the 2009 Budget arising from the Cabinet reshuffle by Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he became Prime Minister, I had stressed that the Public Accounts Committe (PAC) should not be a “cover up” for the PKFZ scandal, berated the PAC Chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid for opposing the summoning of Liong Sik, Kong Choy as well as other MCA big-wigs like Chor Chee Heong and Yap Pian Hon.
I in fact reiterated that Azmi should disqualify himself from the PAC inquiry into the PKFZ scandal as he was a Minister and party to the July 2007 Cabinet decision to give retrospective approval for the four unlawful Letters of Support issued by Liong Sik and Kong Choy and were the cause of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.
I welcome the PAC decision to summon Liong Sik and Kong Choy and other big-guns for this is the first time that the PAC is acting seriously and responsibly in its inquiry into the PKFZ scandal.
Question No.2 – Today is the last day of the current three-week parliamentary meeting and the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report and appendices on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal have not been tabled in Parliament so that MPs from both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat can study, deliberate and debate them.
Something is wrong with the Ministerial capability of Ong and his commitment to accountability and responsibility to Parliament when three weeks after parliamentary meeting and his junket to France for the Paris Air Show, Ong has not been able to table the PcW report and appendices in Parliament although 300 copies of the PwC report and appendices have been sent to Parliament!
MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran questioned at the beginning of the Parliament sitting today why MPs have not yet received the PwC report and appendices but to no avail.
We have now the ridiculous situation where 300 copies of the PwC report and appendices have been sent to Parliament and are hidden away somewhere in the Parliament building away from the sight of MPs, on the ground that they have been hijacked by the Public Accounts Committee and would only be tabled in Parliament together with the PAC report on the PKFZ.
If we have an efficient and responsible PAC Chairman, it is Ok, but we have here a PAC Chairman who is prepared to play the unprecedented role of hijacking and obstructing the access of MPs to the PwC report and appendices on the PKFZ scandal – which is the first case of its kind in Commonwealth parliamentary history.
Both the Transport Minister and the PAC Chairman are seriously remiss in their parliamentary responsibilities.
Let me tell Ong that if he could not ensure that all MPs are immediately given a copy of the PwC report and appendices, then he is not fit to be a Minister.
Let me ask Azmi whether he is unaware that the PAC is being used as an excuse by Ong to deny access of the PwC report and appendices to MPs? Why has the PAC Chairman done nothing to ensure that PAC is not used as a “scapegoat” by Ong to block the release of the PwC report and appendices to MPs?
A responsible PAC Chairman could have resolved this obstruction and sabotage of parliamentary accountability very simply, by submitting a preliminary PAC report to Parliament together with the PwC report and appendices, informing Parliament what PAC has done on the PKFZ scandal – which will allow the PAC to continue with its further inquiries and deliberations including summoning MCA big-wigs like former Transport Ministers, Liong Sik and Kong Choy and former KPA Chairmen like Chew Peh, Pian Hon and Chor Heung to give testimony.
What is Azmi not doing this?
My second question to Ong is what is he doing to ensure all MPs can get immediate access to the PwC report and appendices, by making the PwC report and appendices available to MPs?
If the PwC report and appendices have been hijacked by PAC and are under “lock and key” in Parliament, is he prepared to make them available to MPs directly, such as through the Transport Ministry in Putrajaya or Port Klang Authority in Klang?
Question No. 3: My third question today is with regard to the RM1.2 billion variation order by the PKFZ turnkey developer, Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd and Ong’s May 10, 2008 letter to the Prime Minister seeking the latter’s approval.
Ong’s attempt to distance himself from KDSB’s RM1.2 billion variation order, claiming that he just a postman forwarding the Port Klang Authority (PKA) Board’s decision, had been disproved by the contents of his May 10, 2008 letter which very clearly stated:
“6. Oleh yang demikian, saya pohon pertimbangan serta kelulusan YAB Datuk Seri ke atas perkara seperti tersebut di perenggan 3(i) dan 4.”
Perenggan 3(i) and (4) referred to KDSB’s RM1.2 billion variation order.
The third question I want to ask Ong is whether it is not true that PKA Board in February 2008 had not taken the final decision to approve the RM1.2 billion KDSB variation order but had referred the whole matter to the Transport Minister for a decision, although the PKA Board recommended approval but the decision was to be taken by the Transport Minister.
If this is correct, then the decision to approve the RM1.2 billion KDSB variation order – which is even higher than the original cost of the PKFZ project as it was estimated to cost RM1.08 billion in 2002 – was taken solely and squarely by the Transport Minister, either by Kong Choy who was Transport Minister before the March 8, 2008 general elections or by Ong himself after the March 2008 general elections.
Can Ong answer?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor