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Apr 11, 2008

Uncovering the PKFZ Scandal


About nine months ago, I commented several times in this column about the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal. Someone passed a message to me that he is going to sue me.

Why does he want to sue me? Yes, I said the PKFZ scandal is probably the worst scandal in the history of Malaysia. I also asked where have the taxpayers' money of RM4.6 billion gone to? Are the few desolated buildings at the remote corner of the port is all what the so-called “Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ)” is?

The early management of Port Klang Authority (PKA) has done a strange thing. PKA repurchased the 1,000 acres land from the hands of politicians and businessmen at RM 25 per square foot for a total consideration of RM 1.8 billion (inclusive of interest). The price for the original sale is RM 3 per square foot. However, the RM 1.8 billion later ballooned to RM 4.6 billion.

"The PKFZ truth might be a nuclear bomb in the political arena."

They have asked for too much and their trick is superb. Even if we burn the money, it is impossible to burn so much money in such a short period. After the project is completed, PKFZ is then managed by Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA). Very soon, JAFZA withdrew themselves from the project because of internal illnesses and deliberate spites.

In times of difficulties, the government came in to bail out PKFZ. Of course, the money will have to be paid by the taxpayers. RM4.6 billion was taken from the pockets of the people and the state treasury within the few years. What's left behind is a super big white elephant at Port Klang.

Last year, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under the leadership of Dato Shahrir Samad, began to investigate the bailout scandal. Unfortunately, there was no news until the parliament was dissolved. Now, Shahrir joins the cabinet as minister, and probably he will not deal with this issue anymore.

Ong Tee Kiat is the Transport Minister and PKFZ is under the responsibility of his ministry. We should praise and support Ong for his commitment. Before the people ask him, he took the initiative to resolve the problem. He indicated that investigations will be carried out, and the reports will be made public.

Of course, it is a very sensitive area. There are too many political and business connections. The PKFZ truth might be a nuclear bomb in the political arena. I don't know if Ong is psychologically prepared for it.

If he conducts a thorough investigation into the scandal impartially, the people will always support him despite mountains of difficulties. How to deal with the PKFZ scandal is a major test for him and the BN government.

Abdullah swore to accelerate the reform in exchange of the people's trust. Ong's commitment needs the backing of the government to uncover the truth and to seek justice for the people. (By TAY TIAN YAN/ Translated LEE MEI NYEE/ Sin Chew Daily)

Rujuk: PKFZ - Some Unanswered Questions


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