PKFZ scandal: So who cheated the govt?

Jeswan Kaur | October 27, 2013
Free Malaysia Today

How could a minister not be accountable for misinformation or manipulation of figures and facts as evident in the document he would be signing?


Hindraf-HRP leader P Uthayakumar has written to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak saying he was being tortured by the Prisons Department.

Uthayakumar who is serving a 30-month jail sentence for sedition claimed he was made to sleep on the floor.

But the Prisons Department begs to differ, saying Uthayakumar had been placed in solitary confinement for a total of 13 days on two separate occasions as he had “refused to take instructions”.

Just what were the ‘instructions’ was not revealed by the department. Did Uthayakumar’s plea for a humane treatment melt Najib’s heart? It never did.

While Uthayakumar languishes behind the cold walls of a prison, life was so much the better for former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik, 70, who was as pleased as a punch to be waking home a free man after he was acquitted of charges of having cheated Putrajaya in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) land deal.

Police started probing the PKFZ land deal in early 2009 after then Port Klang Authority chairperson Lee Hwa Beng lodged a report following a financial audit of the project.

The PKFZ project, initially estimated at RM1.1 billion after it was mooted by Ling in 1997, more than quadrupled in cost to RM4.6 billion a decade later.

High Court judge Ahmad Asnawi found reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case, making it all too easy for the former MCA president to walk out freely.

What is more disturbing is the fact that Ahmad ruled that Ling could not be held accountable for any mistakes, misleading information or inaccuracies in the preparation of the ministry’s documents regarding the land acquisition, despite Ling signing the documents.

How could an officer bearer, in this case a minister, not be accountable for misinformation or manipulation of figures and facts as evident in the document he would be signing?

Do our ministers not bother to get all the information necessary on a deal, purchase or project before inking it? Or are our ministers illiterate?

Or was exonerating Ling an easy way out for the judge who then conveniently shifted all blame to the officers of the transport ministry who drafted and prepared the documents?

Ling’s acquittal no surprise

Ling’s acquittal was predicted, no thanks to former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was among those who gave evidence for Ling.

Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years, was also the finance minister between 2000 and 2003, when Ling was alleged to have committed the offences.

It came as a déjà vu when Mahathir claimed he was all too familiar with the PKFZ project, a claim he had years ago made about Perwaja Steel, expressing satisfaction with Perwaja’s turnaround when reality was otherwise.

Mahathir then appointed Eric Chia to “rescue” Perwaja in 1988 and false assurances were given by Chia including talks about the public listing of Perwaja when instead the company was debt-ridden, with fraud and malpractices allegedly taking place.

Almost three decades later, Mahathir tried a similar stunt by trying to ‘rescue’ Ling. Besides Mahathir, there were five other cabinet ministers who had testified in Ling’s favour; they were Dr Fong Chan Onn, Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir and prosecution witnesses Mohamed Nazri Aziz and Mohd Effendi Norwawi.

Even MCA president and former cabinet minister Dr Chua Soi Lek was all too relieved with the court ruling, lauding the nation’s judicial system as being efficient in delivering justice.

As DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang put it, Ling’s acquittal simply reflected the failure of Putrajaya’s system of accountability.

Lim added that Ling’s acquittal showed that Malaysia was no closer to identifying the culprit behind the losses resulting from the mega project, the cost of which had ballooned from RM1.1 billion to RM4.6 billion in 2007.

“It shows the whole system – not talking about any particular person – the failure of the whole system of integrity and accountability,” Lim was reported as saying.

“The story has not been probed. The tale has been not been probed. We are as far away as finding the culprit, as far as ever,” Lim added.

But then Malaysia has never been high on accountability, integrity, transparency, justice and truth. A seasoned politician like Lim should not forget that the system collapsed long ago, when the judiciary time and again failed to uphold democracy through its ‘biased’ verdicts.

The system failed the rakyat when a former chief minister was let off the hook for statutory rape.

The system again let the people down when it cleared a cop who beat up a detainee to death of any wrongdoing.

It is the same system that allowed the murderers of Mongolian native Altantuya Shaariibuu go free.

Due to a flawed system, the perpetrators are getting away scot-free. Despite there being evidence that a senior minister’s son had beaten up a security supervisor of a plush condominiun, the police reacted to the contrary.

Courts not upholding democracy

Lim, who is also the Gelang Patah MP, called for an inquiry into the PKFZ scandal, saying that it “cannot just be left like that without any accountability whatsoever”.

However, like all injustices that begged inquiries and never got any, the Ling Liong Sik-PKFZ scandal too will end up being stale news in days to come.

The fact that the PKFZ fiasco leaves more questions unanswered is of no interest to the federal government.

Closing the files on the PKFZ scandal is yet another blotch on the BN government’s refusal to come out clean over this issue.

If Ling did not cheat the government, who did? How did the cost of the project spiral four times more than its actual cost of RM1.1 billion in a spate of 10 years?

To shift blame on Ling’s staff by creating scapegoats to allow the former to escape punishment for his actions puts the judiciary to shame.

With Ling getting on with life as usual, the rakyat are left scratching their heads, amazed at the extent to which the country’s longest-serving premier Mahathir could stoop to ‘safe’ his cronies.

Indeed, when it comes to hiding the truth from the rakyat, it will always be a case of ‘endless possibilities” for nefarious and corrupt politicians like Mahathir.

  1. #1 by gofortruth on Sunday, 27 October 2013 - 11:22 pm

    Altantuya, Allah & now PKFZ, all point toward an unmistakable truth – in the Malayisan court we have Kangaroos serving their masters.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 27 October 2013 - 11:43 pm

    It was a correct and fair decision. Ling was charged for deceiving the Government by not revealing to the Cabinet an additional interest rate of 7.5% annually in the RM1.088bil (at RM25psf) purchase of the land for the project at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Sept 25, 2002 and Nov 6, 2002. According to testimonies of Dr Mahathir and former Cabinet ministers Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn and Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzi, the Cabinet knew that the value of RM25 psf did not include the total amount of interest payable and interest of 7.5% would be payable over and above RM25psf. It was ridiculous to scapegoat & charge the then Transport Minister for cheating the Cabinet –just to show that they were going after a big fish to pacify public outrage over RM12 billion loss – when the then PM and Cabinet ministers said they knew of the costing and were not deceived. The real guilty fish –whoever they might be- involved in procuring the land and making money at every stage of the process leading to the loss were neither investigated nor charged.

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 27 October 2013 - 11:58 pm

    Having said that – the case against Tun Ling aside- when Kit commented that the ‘whole system’ – not talking about any particular person – is a failure, Kit meant or should be taken to mean the whole system of Administration of Justice which does not comprise just the court process or any decision alone but includes the inter play of the investigative and the prosecution processes and the exercise of discretionary powers by investigators and prosecutors, and may, in certain context, include the complicity of defence lawyers as well.

  4. #4 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 7:08 am

    was najip also tapped by the American security agency? the communications about the killing of mongolian lady are in the hand of US Intelligence??


    Obama aware of Merkel spying since 2010: German report

    Berlin (AFP) – US President Barack Obama was personally informed of mobile phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which may have begun as early as 2002, German media reported Sunday.

    Bild am Sonntag newspaper quoted US intelligence sources as saying that National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander had briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel in 2010.

    “Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue,” the newspaper quoted a high-ranking NSA official as saying.

    Meanwhile newsweekly Der Spiegel reported ahead of its Monday issue that leaked NSA documents showed Merkel’s phone had appeared on a list of spying targets since 2002, and was still under surveillance weeks before Obama visited Berlin in June.

    The spying row has prompted European leaders to demand a new deal with Washington on intelligence gathering that would maintain an essential alliance while keeping the fight against terrorism on track.

    Germany will send its own spy chiefs to the United States next week to demand answers following the allegations that US intelligence has been tapping Merkel’s mobile phone, as the row threatened to fray transatlantic ties.

    Merkel confronted Obama with the suspicion in a phone call on Wednesday saying that spying on allies would be a “breach of trust” between international partners.

    The charges also prompted Berlin to summon the US ambassador — a highly unusual move between the close allies.

    The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported Saturday that Obama had told Merkel during their call that he had been unaware of any spying against her. It did not cite its sources.

    Der Spiegel said he had told her that if he had been informed of the operation he would have stopped it at once.

    Other media reports said that Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice had also told German officials the president knew nothing of the spying.

  5. #5 by bruno on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 7:24 am

    Umnoputras and their cronies cheated the gomen.Ling and his stooges are just pawns in the corruption game.Stupid lackeys,these MCA guys.

  6. #6 by undertaker888 on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 7:33 am

    Jeswan should ask who cheated the people? The government? Because non of the billions come from their pockets. It is our money.

    This is one disgusting govt.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 7:41 am

    The different permutations of a Failed System occurring in different occasions and times depending who the actors are and what factors at play other than Rule of Law:-

    • Innocent persons wrongly investigated for harassment, not charged;
    • Innocent persons wrongly investigated and charged, tried but rightly acquitted;
    • Innocent persons wrongly investigated unfairly charged and unfairly convicted;
    • Innocent persons investigated but neither charged not tried but preventively detained;
    • Guilty persons not even investigated, let alone charged nor convicted;
    • Guilty persons investigated but neither charged nor convicted;
    • Guilty persons investigated, but accused/charged for wrong offence and then acquitted;
    • Guilty persons investigated & correctly charged for right offence and wrongly acquitted;
    • Guilty persons investigated, charged for right offence, convicted but lightly punished.

  8. #8 by bangkoklane on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 10:11 am

    Not to worry, as our government continues on its journey of self-destruction, all we have to do is wait. We do not even have to go into battle. By the next GE bye-bye DUMNO-BN…

  9. #9 by bangkoklane on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 10:15 am

    We need to be prepared to take our the government though. We need to prepare opposition leaders to lead the government and nation to full recovery from all the damage caused by bumno-bn…

  10. #10 by yhsiew on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 11:32 am

    The PKFZ scandal is well manipulated by unscrupulous persons who are bent on pillaging the wealth of the country.

  11. #11 by bangkoklane on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 11:47 am

    Our Pakatan leaders are more than capable to take over the government even now. A government for ALL Malaysians.

  12. #12 by Bigjoe on Monday, 28 October 2013 - 12:46 pm

    With Uthaya in jail, having news that he is being tortured is EXACTLY what Najib needs because the right-wing in UMNO wants to send the message to Waytha and Ganesan what would happen to them if they turn against UMNO/BN now.

    With price rising and new taxes, PKFZ will still play with the masses because the price rises and the new taxes are about corruption and power abuse..

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