KUALA LUMPUR, 15 June 2009: A motion by DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang (Ipoh Timur) to debate the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal in Parliament was rejected this morning.
Lim, in a press conference after Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin rejected his motion, also questioned the absence of Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat in Parliament.
“Was Ong so sure that my motion for an urgent debate on the PKFZ scandal today would be rejected by the speaker, that he could just go off overseas?” Lim asked.
Ong is currently abroad on official duty and is scheduled to return to Malaysia on 20 June 2009.
The PKFZ, an integrated 1,000-acre zone offering facilities for international cargo distribution, was approved by cabinet in 1999. In 2001, it was estimated to cost RM1.9 billion.
However, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit report highlighted procedural improprieties which led to the cost of the PKFZ project ballooning to RM7.5 billion.
This figure is expected to rise to RM12.5 billion, as the Port Klang Authority (PKA), which manages the PKFZ, will be unable to repay its Finance Ministry soft loan on schedule.
“Did Ong get specific approval from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to be on the run from Parliament this week, to avoid parliamentary accounting?”
Lim reading from a statement after his motion to debate the PKFZ scandal was rejected
Lim cited a New Straits Times report today, which revealed that Ong would make a ministerial statement on the PKFZ scandal on Monday, 22 June.
According to the report, Ong is expected to answer all points raised by Opposition MPs. He is also expected to outline the measures taken by the government to save the PKFZ project.
Lim revealed that he had already asked for Ong to make such a ministerial statement today.
“This ministerial statement should be made today, and not next Monday,” Lim stressed.
“Is Ong prepared to cut short his trip and rush back to Parliament to make a statement on Wednesday or Thursday?”
Lim also pointed out that Ong’s commitment to distribute the PwC audit report and its appendices had not been fulfilled.
“We were given to understand that MPs could get the report and appendices today. This is not the case,” Lim said.
According to Lim, he had asked Parliament secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah about the PwC report.
“She informed me that the PwC report, with the appendices, will be tabled in the house together with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the PKFZ scandal,” Lim explained.
Lim expressed doubt that the PAC report would be ready to be tabled in the current sitting of Parliament.
“If on such a simple matter, the new Najib premiership cannot demonstrate its seriousness … how can there be any public confidence in the administration of the new prime minister?” Lim asked.