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RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal – Liong Sik telling the truth or just a pack of lies?

Media Conference Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Monday): Firstly, I am very disappointed that my motion for an urgent debate of the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and a government bailout has been denied, casting not only a dark shadow on the 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations on Friday by raising grave questions about good governance, an accountable and honest Cabinet and an effective “First-World Parliament”.

It would appear that no Barisan Nasional MP is prepared to take a principled stand demanding full parliamentary accountability of the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal and that there should be no government bail-out unless there is prior Parliamentary sanction, especially as the government had earlier been giving an assurance that the PKFZ was feasible and self-financing which would not require a single ringgit of government funding.

Although the rejection by the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah of my urgent motion on the PKFZ is a setback in the campaign to hold the government to the National Integrity Plan launched by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, I will continue to demand full and proper accountability for the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal in the current budget meeting of Parliament.

Yesterday, former MCA President and Transport Minister, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik broke his silence on the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal which was initiated when he helmed the Transport Ministry but what he said raised the question whether Ling was telling the truth or just a pack of lies.

How can Ling hide his head under the sand and claim that the PKFZ plan to “emulate Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone was a good strategic idea” when it has become a national calamity, which is the candidate for a RM4.6 billion bail-out – the biggest financial scandal for the start of any Prime Minister in the nation’s 50-year history?

Ling said yesterday that the intention of PKFZ was to copy Jebel Ali Free Zone, which had 4,500 factories supplying to the whole of the Gulf, by combining port trade with Jebel Ali and bring at least half the factories to PKFZ to supply to Asean.

After spawning the monster of a RM4.6 billion mega-financial scandal, what has PKFZ to show in terms of achieving the target of attracting 2,250 factories from Jebel Ali Free Zone to Port Klang? Has it achieved 10, five or even one per cent of this target so far?

What is worse, the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) which originally had a 15-year contract to be management consultants of PKFZ to tap into Jafza’s expertise in this field had been driven out of the country because of hanky-panky in the administration and management of PKFZ.

It is intriguing why Ling had brought out the name of the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, specifically saying that the Cabinet meeting chaired by Mahathir had approved his (Ling) recommendation “to acquire the land” for the PKFZ project.

Is Ling trying to pass the buck by implying that it was Mahathir who must bear full and final responsibility for the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal?

However, Ling seems to have a very selective memory about the Cabinet decision on the acquisition of the 1,000 acres of land for PKFZ, claiming that he could not remember the actual price paid for the land. Is this credible?

As revealed in various media reports, the Treasury and the Attorney-General Chambers had proposed that the 1,000 acres be acquired by the government under the Land Acquisition Act at the market price of about RM10 psf but it was the Transport Ministry which insisted that the land be bought at RM25 psf for the PKFZ on the ground that it was feasible and self-financing and would not require a single ringgit of public funding.

Wasn’t Ling the Minister who was the strongest advocate in Cabinet for the purchase of the 1,000 acres for PKFZ for RM1.8 billion when the land had been bought by Kuala Dimensi Sdn. For RM95 million or RM3 psq in 1999?

Ling should explain why he could remember that it was Mahathir who chaired the Cabinet meeting which approved the acquisition of 1,000 acres of land for PKFZ but could not remember the price of the land acquisition?


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

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