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Ex-port boss launches book on PKFZ scandal

 | April 17, 2012

MCA man Lee Hwa Beng suggests that a free investigation is possible only with a change of government

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Port Klang Authority (PKA) chief Lee Hwa Beng today launched a book chronicling the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project from the time it was mooted in 1997 until recently, when it had already become a synonym for corruption.

Lee co-wrote PKFZ: A Nation’s Trust Betrayed with former journalist Lee Siew Lian. In it, he shares the insights he gained as PKA chairman between 2008 and 2011 and his contribution to the corruption investigations.

Lee told his audience at the launch that the book contained just a fraction of what was left to be said of the scandal and suggested that a truly independent investigation would require a change of government.

“There are many unanswered questions regarding the project that were still unanswered and there is more to be unravelled and unearthed,” he said.

“In the transport ministry, there were so many things that happened, which we won’t know about, that might not be revealed in the court cases. Only the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission [MACC] have the power to dig these out.”

Lee, a member of MCA, served as the state assemblyman for Subang Jaya between 1995 and 2008. In the last general election, he contested for the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat, but lost to newcomer Loh Gwo Burne of PKR.

To date, six people have been charged in court over the scandal. They include former MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik and his successor as transport minister, former MCA deputy chief Chan Kong Choy. Both are accused of lying to the Cabinet.

The mainstream media have practically taken the PKFZ scandal out of the limelight since the trials began and following Ong Tee Keat’s removal from the MCA presidency in 2010 and his resignation as transport minister in the same year.

Ong was at the book launch, as was DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang.

“As recounted by Hwa Beng’s book, after the PwC [PriceWaterhouseCoopers] report, the prime minister [Najib Tun Razak] announced the setting up of a Super Task Force on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal in September 2009, headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Mohd Sidek Hassan,” Lim said.

“What has happened to this PKFZ Super Task Force? Two and a half years later, Najib has not released even an iota of news with regard to the activities and findings, if any, of this Super Task Force. But as Hwa Beng’s book shows, there are many people associated with this scandal who have not been properly called to account.”

Ong said the government had failed to assure taxpayers that the funds lost in the scandal could ever be recovered.

“As the immediate past minister of transport who was responsible for commissioning the thorough and independent probe into the PKFZ scandal, certainly I am hopeful that the hard work put in by the ad hoc committee assigned to investigate the alleged wrongdoings or the anomalies identified by the PwC Report would not go to waste.”

Lim said the RM12.5 billion lost in the scandal could be used to “build 25 universities at RM500 million each, 125 hospitals at RM100 million each, 1,250 schools at RM100 million each, 312,500 low-cost houses at RM40,000 each or to give everyone of the 27 million Malaysians regardless of age a payout of RM338”.

“Only a royal commission of inquiry, where previous transport ministers, PKA chairmen and board members, as well as the relevant government officials in the transport ministry and finance ministry are summoned to testify on their role can do justice for accountability and integrity in this scandal of scandals,” he said.

He said Pakatan Rakyat would establish such a commission of inquiry if it made it to Putrajaya with the coming general election.


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