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Report on PKFZ to be out in one week

PETALING JAYA, 29 April 2009: The report on Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) will be released to the public within one week from today, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

“I have decided to extend the services of Datuk Lee Hwa Beng as Port Klang Authority chair[person], after his term of office ended on 31 March 2009. One of his key priorities now is to ensure the release of the PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) report on the Port Klang Free Zone and I’ve given him one week from today to do so,” said Ong in a blog posting today.

Ong said the report is ready and will be made public in its entirety.

“I have pledged to ensure transparency on this issue and I intend to keep my word,” Ong, who is also MCA president, added.

Ong (File pic)
In addition, Ong said he would consider submitting the report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Accounts Committee after its release.

He also explained that the delay in completing the report was due to “several technical issues, including the declassification of key government documents related to the investigations.”

In a front-page story on 25 April, The Edge reported that the PKFZ cost is believed to have escalated from RM4.6 billion under the former Transport Minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy to RM8 billion.

As a result, Ong came under fire, and DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang urged the transport minister to release the PwC report immediately.

Ong blasted the business weekly on 26 April, claiming that the publication “deliberately portrayed me as the stumbling block to the release of such a report”, and threatened to sue the paper.

The minister defended himself by saying that it is within the power of the Port Klang Authority, not the Transport Ministry, to release the report.

International accounting firm PwC started its investigation into the PKFZ scandal in October 2008, and its report was supposed to be released in two parts. The first part of the report was made public in December 2008, and Ong reported that the free trade zone has shown improvement in the areas of number of investments, employment and total cargo transported.

PKFZ, which was conceptualised as a mega project to turn it into a hub for export and transshipment of manufactured goods, has been mired in controversy after the project costs ballooned from RM519 million to RM4.6 billion.

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