Let’s go back 25 years

“Could the PKFZ project become a RM12.5 billion “mother of all scandals” if the three Transport Ministers and four PKA Chairmen – all from MCA – had not been equally incompetent and negligent as the PKA managers from day one?” said Lim Kit Siang.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

To understand the present, one has to go back to the past. And in the case of the PKFZ, it has to be at least 25 years into the past.

25 years ago, MCA, the ‘number two’ partner in Barisan Nasional, was going through a crisis, like what is happening today. Neo Yee Pan, the new President, had taken over the party leadership in March 1983. He, of course, was ‘Team A’. And as soon as he took over, he ousted his opponents from ‘Team B’ led by Tan Koon Swan and his running mate Ling Liong Sik. With a stroke of the pen, so to speak, both Koon Swan and Liong Sik were out in the wilderness.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who himself had just taken over the leadership of Umno a couple of years earlier, was not too pleased. He wanted Koon Swan and Liong Sik to head MCA, not the man whom Umno called ‘the pork seller’. Yes, that was what Umno called Yee Pan, the pork seller, maybe because they thought he looked like one.

Plans were hatched to oust Yee Pan. Koon Swan and Liong Sik were told to cool their heels for a year or so while Dr Mahathir figures out his moves. They spent a short stint in Bolton, itching to get back into the political arena and grab back control of MCA.

Just before Dr Mahathir left for his overseas trip, he sent an emissary to meet Yee Pan with the message that he wants him out of MCA. And when he returns from his overseas trip he wants to see Yee Pan’s resignation letter on his table as a sort of ‘insurance policy’. The message was very clear. Go quietly and without any fuss or else get shoved out in a bloody and take-no-prisoners battle.

Yee Pan knew better than to take on Umno and Dr Mahathir. He decided that the best for his continued health would be to put his tail between his legs and exit with his head still attached to his shoulders.

In November 1985, Koon Swan and his running mate Liong Sik took over the leadership of MCA and Dr Mahathir was utmost pleased that at last MCA was being led by the people who he was most comfortable working with. Unknown to the MCA members at large, it was not the Chinese but Umno and the Prime Minister who decided their party’s fate and future.

Then Koon Swan suddenly found himself swamped with loads of legal problems. The 1985 recession had come without warning and to solve his financial predicament Koon Swan had done something illegal and the Singapore government caught him with his pants down. Dr Mahathir had no choice but to allow Singapore to send Koon Swan to jail and, in September 1986, Liong Sik found himself suddenly in charge of MCA as its new President.

Koon Swan was president of MCA for just ten months. He was in jail for longer than that.

A year later, Umno too went into crisis when it too saw the emergence of a Team A and Team B, just like MCA a couple of years before that. This crisis eventually led to the deregistering of the party by the Registrar of Societies and suddenly MCA found itself the lead partner of Barisan Nasional with Liong Sik as its new Chairman.

Umno no longer existed.

Dr Mahathir quickly registered a new party, which he called Umno Baru. But Umno Baru was not a component member of Barisan Nasional. The old Umno was. But the old Umno no longer existed. Umno Baru would need to apply to join Barisan Nasional just like any new party that wanted to join Barisan Nasional would have to do.

But the procedure to join Barisan Nasional is that all component members of Barisan Nasional must unanimously agree to admit this new member. A simple majority would not do. Even one dissenting voice would mean that the application to join Barisan Nasional would be rejected. And it would the Chairman of Barisan Nasional, Liong Sik, who would have to make sure that Umno is admitted into the coalition.

Liong Sik was a very crucial element for Umno. Without the lead partner of Barisan Nasional, now of course MCA, leading the charge, Umno is sunk. Umno would have to remain an independent party and Dr Mahathir would have to resign as Prime Minister as he would no longer command the majority seats in Parliament. Dr Mahathir, for all intents and purposes, was in fact now an independent Member of Parliament and legally no longer Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Yes, Liong Sik saved Umno. And he saved Dr Mahathir as well. Without him Umno and Dr Mahathir would be history while MCA would be the head honcho of Barisan Nasional with Liong Sik as Malaysia’s new Prime Minister. Dr Mahathir himself said that the Federal Constitution of Malaysia does not forbid a Chinese from becoming Prime Minister of Malaysia.

There is a special relationship between Umno and MCA’s past leaders that many Malaysians do not know about. MCA and Liong Sik are what the Malays would call talian hayat or lifeline. It was so more than 20 years ago. It is still so today.

In fact, today, it is even more so. Umno no longer holds more than 50% of the seats in Parliament. Without MCA’s 15 seats and another 30 from Sarawak, Umno is out of business. Sabah has another dozen or so and MIC and Gerakan another five combined. But these are not as crucial as MCA’s 15 and Sarawak’s 30. These 45 seats from MCA and Sarawak are what ensure that Umno remains in power.

The opposition wants to nail the balls of those involved in PKFZ to the wall. That would not be possible. If Umno allows the opposition to bring down all those behind the PKFZ then MCA and Sarawak will fall. And with them Umno too will fall. It is like all of them drifting in the same lifeboat. You can’t allow anyone to sink the lifeboat when you are also in it as that would mean you too would drown. So Umno needs to save MCA and the Sarawak politicians just so that it too will not fall. It is a case of survival and when your survival depends on others you have to make sure that they survive so that you too can survive.

The link between MCA and the PKFZ is clear. That is already public knowledge. The link between the Sarawak politicians and the PKFZ is also very clear because that too is public knowledge. But what many do not know is the link between MCA and the Sarawak politicians.

Many are perplexed as to why Ong Tee Keat (OTK) is trying to protect those behind the PKFZ. After all, those implicated are all ex-leaders of MCA and surely their downfall would not affect MCA. Actually, it is not just about the ex-leaders of MCA. It is also about the Chinese corporate bosses and the Sarawak leaders who have their hands dirty with the PKFZ fiasco.

The link between OTK and the Sarawak leaders may be a well-kept secret. But when OTK flies all over the place with Tiong King Sing’s private jet how can you keep this a secret?

As follows are some of the flight details we managed to get our hands on:

12 Feb G450 SZB/JB/KCH (ETD 11.00/12.00/17.00)
19 Feb G450 SZB/JB/SZB (ETD 7.30/22.30)
7 Mar Learjet 60 SZB/Kuantan/SZB (ETD 12.00/22.00)
24 Mar Learjet 60 SZB/JB/SZB (ETD 15.30/22.00)
20 Apr Learjet 60 SZB/JB/SZB (ETB 17.30/23.00)

“Could the PKFZ project become a RM12.5 billion “mother of all scandals” if the three Transport Ministers and four PKA Chairmen – all from MCA – had not been equally incompetent and negligent as the PKA managers from day one?” said Lim Kit Siang.

Actually, it is not about incompetence at all. Incompetence means they do not know what they are doing — which would mean they are stupid. These people know what they were doing all along. They were ripping off RM12.5 billion of the rakyat’s money. And Umno just can’t do anything about it. Umno does not want to do anything about it. If they do something about it then MCA and the Sarawak politicians will have to suffer a fall. And 45 Parliament seats that are propping up Umno will also fall. And when 45 Parliament seats fall, then Umno too will fall.

It is all about survival. And Umno’s survival depends on MCA and Sarawak surviving. And would Umno be the head honcho of Barisan Nasional today if not for MCA and Liong Sik? So how can Umno not cover their ass when 20 years or so ago MCA and Liong Sik gave Umno its second lease in life? MCA and Liong Sik made Umno into what it is today. If not there would no longer be any party called Umno.

And this is how Umno says ‘thank you’ to MCA and Liong Sik. It makes sure that the PKFZ issue remains a non-issue. And the rakyat will just have to carry the RM12.5 billion financial losses for the sake of Umno and MCA remaining in power. That is the price the rakyat have to pay so that these people can stay in office.

It is ironical how the Chinese whack the Malays for what Umno is doing to the country. If only the Chinese knew that Umno is still around today because of MCA and Liong Sik. But then these Chinese were never really that smart anyway. If they were smart they would have blocked Umno from getting admitted into Barisan Nasional 21 years ago back in 1988.

Bodoh punya Cina! They deserve Umno and MCA. And they deserve losing RM12.5 billion of their tax money, 90% of which comes from the Chinese anyway. And today Ong Tee Keat is what Ling Liong Sik was 21 years ago, the man who ensures that Umno stays in office. So do you think OTK will allow the PKFZ issue to get out of control? After all, if Tiong goes down then he would not get to fly around in a private jet any longer.


Could the PKFZ project become a RM12.5 billion “mother of all scandals” if the three Transport Ministers and four PKA Chairmen – all from MCA – had not been equally incompetent and negligent as the PKA managers from day one?

Lim Kit Siang

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman blamed the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal on “a group of incompetent people” from day one. (NST)

The ad hoc committee on corporate governance probing the PKFZ fiasco, headed by Transparency International chairman Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan, denounced the PKA Board members for “gross negligence” in failing to discharge their fiduciary duties diligently, resulting in the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

Both Azmi and Low are only half right. Could the PKFZ project become a RM12.5 billion “mother of all scandals” if the three Transport Ministers (Ling Liong Sik, Chan Kong Choy, Ong Tee Keat) and four PKA Chairmen (Ting Chew Peh, Yap Pian Hon, Chor Chee Heung and Lee Hwa Beng) – all from MCA – had not been equally incompetent and negligent as the PKA managers “from day one”?

Yesterday, the second Transport Minister mired in the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal, Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy appeared before the PAC in its inquiry into the PKFZ scandal, ensconced by a lawyer and two aides as well as lugging a box of relevant documents, giving the impression as if he is appeared as an accused in a public inquiry.

Chan created PAC history in 52 years in being the first to appear with counsel before a PAC hearing. Why was this necessary and why did the PAC Chairman allow Chan to appear with counsel? This is indeed most extraordinary and even self-incriminating.

Even more extraordinary was that Chan produced an opinion from a Queen’s Counsel in the UK that the three Letters of Support which he had signed in support of PKFZ were not letters of guarantee.

How much did it cost Chan to get the opinion of a Queen’s Counsel for him to go to the PAC with it to back up his argument? Easily over 10,000 sterling pounds i.e. RM60,000 to RM100,000.

Why didn’t Chan get a Queen’s Counsel opinion when he was the Transport Minister in 2007 to convince the Cabinet that his three Letters of Support were not government “Letters of Guarantee” for the RM4 billion bonds raised by the PKFZ turnkey developer, Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd. (KDSB) as Malaysian taxpayers would have been spared being victims of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal?

In 2007, the Cabinet was advised by the Attorney-General and Treasury that the four Letters of Support to KDSB to raise RM4 billion bonds were implicit government guarantees to the bond market.

As a result, the Cabinet gave retrospective approval for the four unlawful and unauthorized Letters of Support, one issued by Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik in May 2003 and three by Chan, creating the RM4.6 billion liability for the government in the bailout of PKFZ which is now set to become a RM12.5 billion scandal.

What is most shocking is that Chan did not formally table the opinion of the Queen’s Counsel to the PAC but only referred to it orally. This is most improper and irregular and Chan should be recalled to formally table the opinion of the Queen’s Counsel, so that it becomes part of the documentation of the PAC report in its inquiry into the PKFZ when submitted to Parliament.

As reported in the New Straits Times, Azmi said the PAC is expected to table its findings on the PKFZ scandal in the Dewan Rakyat by October when the House resumed its sitting. It will also prepare a report for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to revisit the project and look into certain areas, which were not touched by the commission in its earlier investigation.

Azmi has got his parliamentary responsibilities as PAC Chairman all wrong. His duty as PAC Chairman is to report to Parliament and not to MACC or even the government. His job is to ensure that the PAC report and recommendations on the PKFZ scandal is first tabled in Parliament and not to submit any report to the MACC or elsewhere.

It is then for Parliament to decide whether to accept the PAC findings and recommendations, including whether the PAC report should be forwarded to MACC for necessary action, or whether to reject the PAC report because it is unsatisfactory and unacceptable.

In the latter circumstances, Parliament should invoke its full powers to hold an inquiry of the full House into the PKFZ scandal, should it arrive at the conclusion that the PAC report falls far short of parliamentary standards and expectations.

In which case, all the witnesses who had appeared before the PAC, including the current and previous Transport Ministers, Tee Keat, Kong Choy and Liong Sik can be recalled.

Azmi should not forget that PAC is delegated by Parliament to inquire into the PKFZ scandal and Parliament must decide whether to accept its findings and recommendations before further follow-up action is taken on the PAC report.

This point must be emphasized especially in a case of such great public interest and controversy like the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

As Parliament is reconvening on Oct. 19, and two weeks notice is required for a motion to accept or reject the PAC report on the PKFZ inquiry, Azmi should ensure that the PAC report on the PKFZ is circulated to MPs by end of September to allow MPs time to study it and decide whether a special motion on the PAC report on the PKFZ scandal should be moved – although formally, the PAC report would only be tabled in Parliament on Oct. 19 itself.


Tiong dares Lim to repeat claims outside

BACKBENCHERS Club chairman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing lost his cool with veteran MP Lim Kit Siang over the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) issue, even challenging the DAP adviser to repeat his allegations outside the House “if he dares”.

The Ipoh Timur MP had spoken at length about the issue when Tiong came into the House to interject.

“Repeat it outside the Dewan if you dare,” the Bintulu MP repeatedly challenged Lim.

At one point, Tiong told Lim not to hide under the cloak of Dewan Rakyat immunity. Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) and Datuk Ismail Kassim (BN – Arau) also stood to seek clarification several times.

While Lim went on speaking about the issue, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (BN – Putrajaya) shouted “gila” (mad), Bung Mokhtar uttered that Lim was talking rubbish and Tiong accused Lim of misleading the House before they themselves left the chambers.

Earlier, Lim expressed disappointment with chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, who turned up at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting but offered no details of the investigation into PKFZ.

“He is not willing to work with Parliament? Isn’t it not Parliamentary contempt?” he asked.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid rebutted the accusation, saying that the committee might call Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to attend its meeting.

He also told Lim that two of the Opposition MPs in PAC supported him when he received a letter from Lim urging him (Azmi) to resign as PAC chairman and not lead in the PKFZ probe.

However, Lim insisted that Azmi, who was in Cabinet between 2004 and 2007, should be a witness in the PKFZ probe as he was party to the Cabinet decisions on PKFZ. – The Star


Tiong to file suit against Lee over PKFZ report

KUALA LUMPUR: Wijaya Baru Holdings Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said he will be suing Port Klang Authority (PKA) board chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng and several others within a few weeks over the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) audit report.

Nanyang Siang Pau reported on the front page of its evening edition last night that Tiong would also be suing auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Advisory Services Sdn Bhd and several media companies.

Tiong told the daily that Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd had appointed a team of lawyers to study the audit report to draft the suit. Tiong is a 70% shareholder of Wijaya Baru Holdings, which is the sole proprietor of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, the turnkey developer of PKFZ.

Speaking after launching a Buddhist project in Petaling Jaya yesterday, Tiong said that he decided to sue Lee and not PKA.

Tiong also challenged Lee to use his money and not PKA funds to defend himself.

Tiong, who is also Bintulu MP and Backbenchers Council chairman, warned Lim Kit Siang (DAP – Ipoh Timur) that he may be sued too.

Kuala Dimensi also took up full page advertorials in Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang, China Press and Guang Ming Daily to explain its position.

It said the PWC’s report, which was incomplete, had tarnished the company’s reputation.

When contacted, Lee said: “I have to wait for the suit and will inform my lawyers to file a defence. Whatever I did is on behalf of PKA and for the good of taxpayers.”