Thursday, April 9, 2009

PKFZ buck passes from Ong Tee Keat to PKA

The Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat is now said to have pointed out that the release of details of an independent audit probe into the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco now lies with the Port Klang Authority (PKA).

That sounds like a solid tai chi move of responsibility transference. Ip Man would be proud of such deft touches even if that is a most un-Wing Chun move. from here.

Ong is quoted, probably a defensive justification of his responsibility transference, as saying that there is a need to seek the declassification of documents relevant to the investigation into the ballooned cost of the shipping area, which went from RM1.85 billion to RM4.6 billion.

Probably with a deadpan expression (I wasn't there, so I'm guessing), Ong is quoted as saying, “It is my duty to keep (the public) informed that we are serious and we (have) sought declassification of certain documents".

When journalists asked whether he would press for the report findings to be released earlier, Ong said the right party to ask would be the PKA. “You have to ask them,” he said, declining to take any more questions on the matter.

See what I mean?

The Edge Daily reported thus: Ong has been reluctant to release the report findings by auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) since late last year. Several politicians and public figures have been implicated in this scandal, including former MCA President Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and his predecessor Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy.

The PKFZ’s debts stem from the bonds issued by Kuala Dimensi, a government-linked company that the PKA awarded the rights to develop the free-trade zone. The company had been given letters of guarantee from the Transport Ministry to obtain funding for the project.

Questions linger over why the Transport Ministry had issued these letters allowing Kuala Dimensi to issue RM4.6 billion in bonds to cover its cost overruns, when the letters are normally authorized only by the Finance Ministry.

PKFZ is a 1,000-acre Free Commercial and Industrial Zone providing facilities for international cargo distribution and consolidation centre. It was modelled after the successful Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai.

The government and all its related entities must not only be transparent. Such transparency must be timely. This, with the greatest of respect, is snail's pace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting case.

Vested interests are clearly being protected, hence the difficulty being experienced by OTK to force the issue, particularly given the delicate BN inter-party relationships.

Full accountability is clearly not in everyone's interest, but if its really the objective, the focus ought to be on supporting the efforts because it seems to me that OTK has already put his political neck on the block.