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Come clean on PKFZ, Ong urged (Updated)

Updated 7.50pm, 20 May 2009

PETALING JAYA, 20 May 2009: DAP has repeated its call for all details on the contentious Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project to be made public.

“Malaysians are tired of the 14-month procrastination by Ong to fulfill his public pledge to ‘tell all’ about the PKFZ scandal,” said DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang in a press statement today.

The DAP parliamentary leader alluded to a possible rift between Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and former Port Klang Authority (PKA) general manager Lim Thean Shiang over the handling of the issue.

It is speculated that this fall-out is due to a briefing Lim gave to government parliamentary backbenchers. The briefing revealed that the PKFZ project‘s cost, previously estimated at RM4.6 billion, had ballooned to more than RM10 billion.

It was reported that Lim’s briefing was done without Ong’s consent; the minister had apparently yet to brief the cabinet on the matter.

“The ‘secret’ briefing by Lim to the Barisan Nasional MPs is most improper and irregular,” Kit Siang said.

“Whether with or without his prior approval, Ong must assume full Ministerial responsibility for the ‘secret’ briefing by Lim,” he added, adding that what transpired in the briefing should be made known.

“Was the Official Secrets Act (OSA) breached in the briefing?” Kit Siang asked. He pointed out that one of the reasons given for the delay in publication of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit report on the PKFZ is that aspects of the report are protected by the OSA.

On 29 April, Ong said that the PwC report would be made public by 6 May. After this deadline had lapsed, the PKA explained that the audit report had been held back due to technical issues, as it could only be released with the consent of its auditor, PwC.

Today, The Edge reported that PKA general manager Lim had quit his post. He is said to have tendered his resignation letter but this is subject to acceptance by the PKA board of directors which will meet tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Ong revealed today that PKA has managed to resolve the technical issues with PwC, including the indemnity issue, to release the PKFZ report.

He added that the report has been discussed in the cabinet last week, and again today.

In addition, Ong said he remained committed to the principles of transparency and openness.

“The people not only have the right to know, but should be assured that the government is acting in their best interest,” said Ong in his blog.

However, the Transport Minister did not specify when the PKFZ report would be made public.

 

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