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Kong Choy on two-week medical leave – does this mean nobody need be responsible to give full accountability  for the RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout scandal for a fortnight?

Media Statement (3) 
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Thursday): When Malaysians heard or read the news about the RM4.1 billion investment from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries for the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) in Johore, their first thought would be that Malaysians themselves have this amount of money to spare if they do not have to be squandered in a bailout of the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PFZ) scandal. 

Up to now, there has been no proper and full accountability as to how the PKFZ, touted as a feasible and self-financing project which would not require a single ringgit of public funds, has ended up as a RM4.6 billion burden of the taxpayers. 

This is why the report today that the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy has gone on medical leave for health reasons attracted more than its usual share of attention. 

His press secretary said Chan has to go abroad for a medical check-up and consultation. 

I wish Chan speedy recovery, although two questions jostle for answer: 

Firstly, is Chan another example of the present crop of Cabinet Ministers who have no confidence in Malaysian specialists and medical expertise that one after another has to go overseas for medical treatment and consultation? This question is particularly poignant when the Health Minister is another MCA leader, Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek. 

Secondly, does this mean that for a fortnight, no one from the Transport Ministry need to be responsible to give full accountability for the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) bailout scandal? 

Knowing that he had to go on medical leave for two weeks, Chan was being most irresponsible in failing to give a full and proper accounting of the RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout scandal in his written answer to my question in Parliament on Tuesday. 

In his answer, apart from making a bald claim that there was no fraud, irregularity or malpractice, Chan failed to address the specific issues which I had highlighted in my urgent motion on the PKFZ bailout scandal on Monday but which was rejected by the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah as not complying withy the three prerequisites requirements of being urgent, definite public importance. 

Chan was given five days’ notice that among the issues I had wanted to highlight in my urgent motion last Monday were: 

  •  (i) Hanky-panky in the purchase of the 1,000 acres for the PKFZ, despite objections by the Finance Ministry and the Attorney-General’s Chambers;

(ii) mismanagement  resulting in the pull-out of Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone (Jafza) from the project, which could become a “white elephant”; and

(iii) Questionable cost-overruns of the PKFZ, ballooning to RM4.63 billion from the original estimate of RM1.1 billion.

  • The unlawful and unauthorized Transport Ministry issue of four “letters of support” which were used by the turnkey contractor - Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) - to raise RM4.6 billion bonds and get an AAA rating from the Malaysia Rating Corporation Bhd. for PKFZ.

  • Why the government and the 26 million Malaysians must now bear responsibility if there is a RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout despite earlier assurances that the PKFZ project would be feasible, self-financing and would not involve a single ringgit of public funds.

Chan had failed to act in accordance with the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance in completely evading these issues in his written answer on the PKFZ scandal in Parliament on Tuesday. 

Who is the Acting Transport Minister during Chan’s two-week medical leave and will he be fully empowered to give a full accounting of the RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout scandal, or he will only have a stock reply: “I do not know. Wait until Chan returns from leave”?


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

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