Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 10th September 2009:
Will Najib’s super task force on PKFZ scandal be a super “cover-up” task force to try to “get the cat back into the bag”?
I am taken aback by the announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak of the Cabinet decision yesterday to set up a super task force, headed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, to investigate the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.
Why didn’t the Cabinet establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal to ensure a full inquiry and public accounting of the mother of all scandals – as the Gerakan President and KPI Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon had belatedly given his support?
Unless convinced otherwise, I see the establishment of the so-called “super task force” into the PKFZ scandal as a major step backwards in public accountability and good governance, as it smacks of being a super “cover up” task force to get “the cat back into the bag” with specific reference to the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.
What is the purpose of a super task force into the PKFZ scandal, which is to include the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, the Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz and representatives from Finance and Transport Ministries, after the PKFZ scandal had ballooned from RM1.08 billion in 2002 to RM4.6 billion in 2006 and now set to become RM12.5 billion through three Transport Ministers and three Prime Ministers?
Will the super task force now make all other inquiries, whether by the Public Accounts Committee or the PricewaterhouseCoopers and various Port Klang Authority task forces subordinate and irrelevant?
After three years of persistent questioning inside and outside Parliament as well as the recent 108 questions of “three-queries-a-day” directed at the Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, there have been some significant results in forcing into the public domain the gross and wide-ranging financial improprieties of the PKFZ “mother of all scandals” – although what has been made public is only the tip of an iceberg.
Will the super task force announced by Najib yesterday result in the PKFZ scandal again shrouded in secrecy and unaccountability?
Another query is why the Chief Secretary Sidek Hassan is now heading such an inquiry into the PKFZ scandal, and why he had failed to conduct such an inquiry earlier as this was resolved by the Cabinet in July 2007 when it decided 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 which have landed the country in the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.
There should be individual and collective Ministerial responsibility by the Cabinet members for the shocking decision yesterday to set up the so-called super task force, when the right course of action would be a Royal Commission of Inquiry to conduct a public and no-holds-barred investigation into the “mother of all scandals” in the nation’s history.
For a start, can Tsu Koon explain why he abandoned his support for a Royal Commission of Inquiry and instead accepted a super task force which might end up as a super “cover up” task force into the PKFZ scandal?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor