Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Tuesday, 23rd June 2009:
PKFZ scandal - Ong Tee Keat caught red-handed telling an untruth on the RM1.2 billion KDSB variation order
My three questions (No.73 to No. 75 on the 25th 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: Port Klang Authority (PKA) Chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng made a very revealing and incriminating admission when he came to the defence of the Transport Minister, with reference to a letter by Ong to the Prime Minister dated May 10, 2008 after it surfaced on the Internet.
According to the New Straits Times, Lee clarified that the letter on RM1.2 billion variation order by the PKFZ turnkey developer, Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd (KDSB) was not Ong's request for more money to be approved but merely a relay of the PKA board's decision (that they needed more money) to the prime minister.
"The letter from the transport minister dated May 10, 2008 to the then prime minister was to inform the latter that the PKA board had already deliberated and approved in February 2008, the final costs of the main development agreement of the contract with the developer."
Lee said that the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit report did not mention the May 10, 2008 letter because the issue was not with the letter but rather the PKA board's way of deliberating on agreements.
Lee distanced himself from the way the PKA Board deliberated the agreements and approved KDSB’s RM1.2 billion variation order by declaring:
“I wish to make it clear that I was not on the PKA board in February 2008 when it wrote to the transport minister asking for the RM1.2 billion".
Lee is right that he was not the PKA Chairman when the PKA Board approved KDBS’s RM1.2 billion PKFZ variation order in February 2008. Who was the PKA Chairman when the PKA Board approved the RM1.2 billion variation order, which was 21% higher than the original estimate of RM1 billion?
In actual fact, KDSB also claimed professional fees of RM121.592 million calculated as a single 10% of the final amount of RM1.216 billion variation order, although this was not stipulated in the PKFZ development contract, resulting the final development cost to be increased by 33%, from the original estimated sum of RM1 billion to RM1.337 billion.
The PKA Chairman in February 2008 is none other than the present MCA Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung.
My first question is why Ong continue to support Chor to evade and avoid responsibility and accountability with the latter’s stance that he had done nothing wrong or improper and need not resign or be suspended as Deputy Finance Minister?
Question No. 2: In his 40-minute media conference in the Parliament lobby yesterday after his 8-minute Ministerial non-statement, Ong denied that his letter dated May 10, 2008 to the Prime Minister was to ask for approval for KDSB’s RM1.2 billion variation order.
This is what he said, as reported by another New Straits Times report:
"There is no need to approve the RM1.2 billion since it was part of the RM4.3 billion soft loan granted by Finance Ministry to PKFZ and approved in 2007.
"It was a decision made before my tenure as transport minister. The question of my asking for extra funds does not arise."
My second question is how this claim of his tallies with the last paragraph of his letter to the Prime Minister dated 10th May 2008, which read:
“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.
Does Ong agree that he has been caught red-handed telling an untruth on the PKFZ scandal?
Question 3: I said yesterday that I would move a motion to refer Ong to the Committee of Privileges if he does not apologise within 24 hours for violating Standing Order 36(12) in deliberately misleading the House when he said that the Cabinet, on Oct. 2, 2002, made the decision to allow the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to purchase 1,000 acres of land for RM1.08 billion at RM25 psf based on the position of the Selangor state government that the land could not be acquired under Section 3(1)(a) of the Land Acquisition Act 1960 because PKFZ was not a public project.
This was because Ong had not referred to the Cabinet decision three weeks later on Oct. 23, 2002, that the land should be acquired by the Transport Ministry through land acquisition under Section 3(1)(a) of the Land Acquisition Act at the price of RM10.16 psf.
To be fair to Ong, I am extending the 24-hour notice to 48 hours before filing a motion to refer him to the Committee of Privileges. Is he prepared to come clean and admit that he had misled the House and had not given a full, proper and accurate account of the Cabinet decisions over the years on the PKFZ project?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor