TI welcomes PKFZ role

(The Star) – PUTRAJAYA: Transparency International Malaysia has hailed the move to involve the non-governmental organisation with the Port Klang Authority (PKA) as a historic milestone.

Its president, Datuk Paul Low, said the NGO’s appointment as PKA’s corporate governance committee chair would allow the NGO to implement the world’s best practices.

“We have to introduce a system of checks and balances. For example, a code of ethics or conduct relating to conflict of interests would need to be put in,” he said when asked how they would approach the audit report on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).

Low said the NGO’s experience would help to make PKA a model government agency.

Chartered Institute of Marketing Malaysia president Tan Sri Dr James Alfred, who co-chairs the executive committee tasked with turning around the PKFZ, said it was going to be a tough job.

“We will be meeting twice a month to discuss how to market and sell PKFZ to investors.”

When asked how the committee would approach the situation, considering the low tenancy in PKFZ and the general outlook by investors, Dr Alfred said: “We will have to erase the bad view that investors have and tell them we are starting with a clean slate.”

He said reviving the PKFZ project was also important in the sense that it would be providing job opportunities to future generations.

In Petaling Jaya, Centre of Public Policy Studies (Asli) chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said he was glad that the post-mortem of the PKFZ project was taken seriously by the formation of the three bodies.

“However, there must be concrete follow-up actions based on the recommendations made by the committees.”

Ramon, who is also the former Transparency International chairman, expressed his approval of Low’s appointment. He also urged the Government to form a royal commission of inquiry to look into the PKFZ report as it would provide a more thorough investigation into the issue.

Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan said an independent inquiry should also be considered because the inquiry would be able to compel Transport Ministry officials to testify before a court.

Institute of Corporate Responsi-bility Malaysia deputy chairman John Zinkin said the formation of the special task force was a wise decision as investors, both local and foreign, would need to know that the Government was taking this seriously.

Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Indus-try president Datuk K.K. Eswaran said whoever was responsible should face the consequences as soon as possible.

“It’s all taxpayers’ funds and if there is any misuse of funds, whoever is caught should be taken to task.”

National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia president Syed Ali Alattas said the minister has taken the right steps.