Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 23rd November 2009:
Chief Secretary Sidek’s failure to carry out Cabinet decision of July 2007 to take action against culprits responsible for RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal a factor why Malaysia has worst ranking and score in 15 years in TI CPI 2009
During the 2010 budget debate on 29th October 2009, I questioned the Cabinet decision to set up a super task force headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan to take over all investigations into the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal as it represented a “major step backwards in public accountability and good governance”, smacking of a super “cover up” instead of a demonstration of political will to get to the bottom of the “mother of all scandals”.
I argued that what is needed is a Royal Commission of Inquiry to conduct a comprehensive and no-holds-barred investigation into the “mother of all scandals” including relevant Ministerial and Cabinet aspects of the scandal instead of trying to sweep the whole issue back under the carpet.
I also posed the following question:
“In the first place, is Mohd Sidek the most appropriate person to head the super task force on the PKFZ scandal?
“Before Mohd Sidek takes up this appointment, he should explain to the Malaysian public why he had failed in the past two years to carry out the Cabinet decision in July 2007 when it resolved on the RM4.6 billion bailout of PKFZ, including giving retrospective approval to the four illegal Letters of Support unlawfully given by the two previous Transport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, that the Chief Secretary should conduct an inquiry as to how the four Letters of Support could have issued unlawfully and to take the necessary disciplinary actions against the culprits who have now landed the country with a RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.
“Did Mohd Sidek carry out such an inquiry as not a single culprit had been identified, let alone penalised for the unlawful issue of the four Letters of Support in the past two years?
“Clearly, Mohd Sidek had not carried out the Cabinet instruction or there would not be today a merry-go-round of multiple investigations into the PKFZ scandal, but all without the necessary sweeping powers to get to the bottom of the scandal.
“Can Mohd Sidek succeed where he had failed in the past two years? I hope Parliament is given a specific answer to these questions in the ministerial replies.”
This is the reply that I have received from the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz, by way of a written answer as he had promised Parliament during the winding-up of the debate on November 9, 2009 for issues he was unable to reply orally because of the constraints of time.
This is Nazri’s response to my budget speech on the PKFZ scandal:
Nazri’s answers are most unsatisfactory and unacceptable, in particular his answer that the Chief Secretary, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan had carried out the Cabinet decision in July 2007 to conduct an inquiry as to how the four Letters of Support were issued unlawfully and to take the necessary disciplinary actions against the culprits who have now landed the country with the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.
If the Chief Secretary had carried out the Cabinet decision in July 2007, there would have been no need for him now to head any PKFZ special task force into PKFZ scandal, as those responsible for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and malpractices would have already been brought to court to face the full force of the law.
Last Thursday, Sidek issued his first statement as Chairman of the PKFZ Special Task Force – more than two months after its formation by the Cabinet in early September - stating that it agreed that the Transport Ministry asked the Board of Directors of the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to consider the recommendations by the Corporate Governance Ad Hoc Committee on the PKFZ project created by the Ministry earlier.
Sidek said the recommendations could be implemented without involving any amendments to the law.
This was decided by the Special Task Force in its third meeting held on Nov 2.
Sidek said the meeting was also informed of the action taken by the Royal Malaysia Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) so far, with the MACC investigation into the PKFZ scandal expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The Cabinet Special Task Force appears to be acting like a postman or reporter than as an alternative to a Royal Commission of Inquiry not only to get to the bottom of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal but to bring to book the culprits for landing the country with the “mother-of-all-scandals”.
If Sidek had carried out the Cabinet decision of July 2007 to take all necessary action against the culprits responsible for the PKFZ scandal, including former Transport Ministers and Port Klang Authority officers, the PKFZ scandal would not have reached the present magnitude. Furthermore, there would be no need for the Cabinet to establish any Special Task Force to do what should have been done under the Cabinet decision of July 2007.
Undoubtedly, one reason why Malaysia’s has suffered the ignominy of the worst ranking and score in 15 years in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2009 must be traced directly to the failure of the Chief Secretary in discharging the task entrusted on him by the Cabinet in July 2007 with regard to the PKFZ scandal.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor