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.
Nicholas Aw says
It was a brave attempt by Lim Kit Siang to move a motion to debate the PKFZ scandal. Obviously, it has been shot down by the Speaker Pandikar Amin. To expect [him] to accept the motion is like pining for the moon.
That’s politics. The position of the speaker is supposed to be neutral but being from BN, the ruling party, do you think that he’s going to allow the motion? To put it in a nutshell, the opposition is like an ill-equipped army facing the might of a well-oiled military machinery armed with the latest firepower.
Still, Lim and the opposition have to plod on even though they know that they are fighting a losing battle. But have no fear as the rakyat are with you. We will not forget 2009 – when Perak was taken away by force, when wearing black and candlelight vigils mean police detention. Despite the BN government’s efforts to regain the people’s trust (which is all superficial), the rakyat will voice their displeasure by way of the ballot box.
Johnny soo says
The speaker seems to be a puppet of the BN. How can this motion be “not urgent”. It involves so much tax payers’ money.
Hafidz Baharom says
Ong Tee Keat did say he’d answer all the questions, he just failed to mention that he wouldn’t be doing it in person. Was the deputy and the secretary there?
If so, this is a non-issue.
Plus, LKS can submit his questions via written form to the Transport Ministry and grandstand the answers any time he wishes to. It won’t make Youtube and make him sensational though.
K S Ong says
The crux of the problem started from the greatly inflated land price which made it necessary for the huge loans. Without sustainable income, how could the company service its loan?
Then comes the problem of how not to get those directly or indirectly [involved] (bound to have others having an interest in such a huge deal) into trouble. Heads will roll (as in transfers or change of personalities involved?) but no one will be guilty or made to cough [up] any illegal gains (hard to prove).
Then, how to make past ministers be held responsible for their guarantees made rightly or wrongly. If those cannot stand up in court, are the bankers who approved the loans to be held responsible for the bad debts?
It looks as though cutting losses is not an option so it is going to be an ongoing problem … until a change of government?