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Media Conference by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Wednesday, 1st July 2009: 

Is OTK prepared to convene a emergency MCA general assembly to secure endorsement for his handling of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal as it is going to be Ong and MCA’s Achilles heel in next general election?

My three questions (No.97 to No. 99) on the 33rd day in the current series to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal today are:

Question No. 1: I welcome the announcement by the Port Klang Authority (PKA) Chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng on the withholding of RM660 million in the next drawdown of the government’s soft loan of RM4.6 billion to pay the PKFZ turnkey developer Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd. (KDSB) for the PKFZ land and construction.

Only yesterday, I had asked whether Ong would order a halt to all payments to KDSB until a full inquiry and parliamentary accountability on the PKFZ scandal is completed.

A week ago, I had publicly called on the Cabinet to stop making further payments for the troubled PKFZ until all issues related to the accountability and integrity of the project are resolved.

This was reported in the Edge on June 24 under the report: “Kit Siang: Govt should consider stop making payments on PKFZ”, which states:

The project to develop a transhipment hub hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons after its cost escalated from an initial estimate of RM1.96 billion to about RM4.5 billion. The owner of PKFZ — Port Klang Authority (PKA) — is unable to meet its debt obligations on bonds raised to finance the development, prompting the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to provide a RM4.6 billion soft loan to ensure PKA meet the obligations.

The next drawdown of the MoF soft loan is scheduled next week.

On this, Lim said the cabinet should meet to decide whether to stop payment or consider other available options.

"The cabinet should meet to decide if it should stop payment and consider all angles of accountability, integrity," Lim told reporters in the Parliament lobby.

When pressed, Lim said the cabinet should know the next course of action it can take in relation to the project.

"The cabinet should know. They must do something... they cannot do nothing. Something must be done. What should they do I don't know unless I get all the facts," Lim said.

A recently released PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report on the transshipment hub stated that the total project outlay for PKA could hit RM7.45 billion, including interest costs on the government loan.

Two days ago, DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng openly called on Ong to stop all payments of the RM660 million to KDSB if the Transport Minister is committed to cleaning up the PKFZ scandal until the culprits responsible for the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal are arrested and charged in court.

I note that the voices of DAP leaders on how the PKFZ scandal should be handled are beginning to be taken more seriously by those in authority.

But I want to ask Ong whether I should commend him for the latest PKA decision to defer the RM660 million to KDSB, and whether this decision was the result of Ong’s directive? If so, I will give credit where credit is due. But if this decision has nothing to do with Ong, then giving credit to him would be doing an injustice to the PKA Board.

However, if Ong claims credit for the latest decision on the deferment of the RM660 million payment to KDSB, he must be prepared to take responsibility for all the other decisions of the PKA Board, as he cannot choose to claim credit for praiseworthy PKA decisions while disclaiming responsibility for deplorable PKA decisions!

The ball is in Ong’s Court to explain this, which is my first question to Ong today.

Question No. 2 – Yesterday, Ong made a political attack on me and Guan Eng at the Klang MCA Delegates Conference, accusing the “father and son” of telling lies and distorting truths, particularly over the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

But Ong has yet to explain why it is he who is running away from the debate to a nation-wide series of public debates, as it is invariably the liar who runs away from a public debate.

Ong cannot even convince the ordinary MCA membership that PKFZ is not the “scandal of all scandals”, which is why to date there is not a single MCA resolution of support for Ong on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

Is Ong prepared to convene an emergency meeting of the MCA General Assembly as the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal is going to be Ong and MCA’s Achilles Heel, just as the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak is going Najib and Umno’s Achilles Heel in the next general elelction – even making the difference between toppling or retaining Barisan Nasional as the federal government.

Question No. 3: Tomorrow is the last day of the current parliamentary meeting. Ong’s motion to refer me to the Committee of Privileges for misleading Parliament on the PKFZ scandal (which he had submitted through a proxy, MCA MP for Tebrau, Teng Boon Soon) is not even on the Order Paper as it requires 14 day’s notice and would therefore lapse.

This shows that Ong was never serious about this motion to refer me to the Committee of Privileges but only wanted to respond to my motion which I submitted two days earlier to refer him to the Committee of Privileges for misleading Parliament on the PKFZ scandal.

Furthermore, Ong was not sincere or serious when he told the press in Johore on Sunday that he welcomed the opportunity for both of us to go before the Committee of Privileges for an “accounting” as to who had actually misled Parliament.

This followed my offer to get 83 Pakatan Rakyat MPs to support the MCA motion to refer me to the Committee of Privileges on the quid pro quo that he get Barisan Nasional MPs to support my motion to refer him to the Committee of Privileges, together with government greenlight for both motions to be passed before the current meeting of Parliament ends tomorrow.

There are still 24 hours to go and Ong can still get the two motions passed by Parliament tomorrow to refer both of us to the Committee of Privileges.

Can Ong deliver or is this just another one of his dishonest and hypocritical political “tai chi”?

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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