Malaysian Insider reported that the Minister told a press conference that lasted more than an hour that the occupancy rate, employment, investment status and cargo movement have increased since the change of management that took place in May.
He stressed that the review, which he had previously called a chronology of events, was not a financial audit but a statement of facts.
“My job is not to pass judgement but to enumerate what has been happening,” said Ong.
“This is entirely based on documents and official records that we have,” he added.
The Minister is also quoted as saying, “I still can remember when I first set foot in the area, people said this is a ghost town,” said Ong when elaborating on the success in increasing the number of employees in the PKFZ.
Ong however refused to blame his predecessors at the Transport Ministry.
“That is the question that only my predecessors can answer at that point of time,” said Ong.
“You are asking me to comment on my predecessor. This is, of course, his discretion at that point of time, perhaps due to whatever reasons or circumstances that he had at that material time. That is the question only my predecessor could answer at that material time,” Ong said.
“But if you were to ask me then of course I might have my own views ... I may not do it but it doesn’t mean what I say or what I choose is going to be the gospel truth.”
The Malaysian Insider also reminds us that the PKFZ project has been criticised because its development cost of less than RM2.5 billion had ballooned amid concerns about its ability to meet its debt obligations as well as that of the soft loan.
There were also questions about the possible kickbacks after it was disclosed that several individuals acquired the piece of land where the PKFZ now sits at RM3 per sq ft in 1999. The Port Klang Authority (PKA) later acquired the land at RM25 psf.
PKFZ ran into further problems when Jebel Ali Free Zone quit the management of the property.
And, now, going by what the Minister is saying everything is nice and peachy. PKFZ is no longer a ghost town. It is increasingly populated by humans.
Read also the great Ancient Mariner's take on this issue here.
I also hear that most hardware shops in the Klang Valley ran out of stock with white paint for the whitewash needed for the Minister's Press Conference...