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Tun Razak who cancelled a plan to build a swimming pool at his official residence would have recoiled in horror at the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and government bailout when the money could be better used for the poor of all races

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): A marathon 50-hour forum was told yesterday why Malaysia’s second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, had called off a plan to build a swimming pool at his official residence.

Razak had felt that the estimated RM60,000 to be spent on the construction of the swimming pool could be better used in building three rural health clinics.

This episode from the past was related by Datuk Mohd Annuar Zaini, chairman of the Malaysian National News Agency, Bernama, at the Merdeka Forum "Sembang-Sembang Kopi `O' Nasi Lemak" organised by the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry and the Federation of National Writers Associations of Malaysia (Gapena) in kuala Lumpur.

There can be no doubt that Razak who cancelled a plan to build the RM60,000 swimming pool at his official residence, would have recoiled in horror at the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and any government bailout when the money could be better used for the poor of all races.

The second Prime Minister would have been utterly shocked at the mentality of the present batch of Cabinet Ministers in general and the Transport Minister in particular who clearly had no notion whatsoever about responsibility, accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance as there had been no proper explanation whether to the Malaysian public or to Parliament as to how such a RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal could have been allowed to happen when the government had been assured right from the beginning that the PKFZ was a feasible and self-financing project which would not require a single ringgit of public funding.

I have no doubt that if the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal had happened during Razak’s premiership, the then Transport Minister would have no choice but to tender his resignation, especially when it was the Transport Minister’s unlawful “letters of support” which had been used as government guarantees to induce investors to subscribe to the RM4.6 billion bonds for the PKFZ project.

A quarter of a century ago, the premiership of the fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, was marred by the then biggest financial scandal, the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal which Mahathir admitted was “a heinous crime without criminals”.

Are Malaysians to celebrate the 50th Merdeka anniversary in an increasingly somber mood with an even bigger “heinous crime without criminals” than the RM2.5 billion BMF scandal 25 years ago - the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal?

It was reportd by foreign agencies on Friday that at a meeting between the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy late last Thursday, the Prime Minister gave the green-light for a RM4.6 billion soft-loan to bailout the PKFZ.

Abdullah may have been persuaded personally to approve a RM4.6 bailout of the PKFZ scandal, but the RM4.6 billion bail-out is not final unless and until there is approval by Cabinet and Parliament.

As a Prime Minister who is committed to “hear the truth”, Abdullah must be prepared to change his mind to approve a RM4.6 billion bailout of PKFZ if the weight of public opinion is against it – even more so when there had been no full parliamentary accountability and prior parliamentary sanction.

I call on Abdullah to honour his undertaking to be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians, and not just for MCA, Umno and Barisan Nasional cronies, and this must be fully demonstrated in his fair and wise handling of the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal.

Is Abdullah prepared to respect the views of Parliament and withdraw any blanket approval for the RM4.6 billion bailout of PKFZ, which will be a blank cheque for waste and misappropriation of public funds, abuses of power and all forms of malpractices?


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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