Latest twist in PKFZ forces PM into damage-control

(Malaysian Mirror) – The RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone financial debacle took a fresh twist after news leaked alleging that the cabinet had been kept apprised of the massive cost over-runs and may have thereby even given its tacit approval.

The shocking revelation has forced Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak into damage control mode. He has ordered the police to immediately investigate the security lapse.

"Anyone who exposes cabinet papers will be subjected to police investigations and action under the Official Secrets Act will depend on the investigations," Najib told reporters late on Friday.

Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar confirmed a probe has begun.

 “We are investigating to find out who is responsible for exposing information on the cabinet paper,” he said.

RPK strikes again

Earlier this week, copies of an 18-page memorandum submitted by the Finance Ministry to the cabinet made the rounds in cyberspace after top anti-government blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin exposed the document on his website.

The crux of the memorandum was to seek the cabinet’s retrospective endorsement for a RM4.6 billion government loan to cover the huge over-expenditure in the PKFZ project, which originally was due to cost only RM1.8 billion.

Coincidentally, Raja Petra’s blog has been blocked the past couple of days, with regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission refusing to comment when asked if it had been instructed to do so.

“Has it anything to do with the RM12.5 billion PKFZ documents including cabinet papers, onbillion Port the website in the past three days?,” asked opposition stalwart Lim Kit Siang.

PKFZ is an integrated 1,000 acre commercial and industrial zone located adjacent to the national gateway and transhipment hub in Port Klang.

It is the government’s largest port investment ever. However due to massive cost overruns that independent auditors have blamed on weak governance and questionable practice, the original development budget has ballooned multiple folds and and could hit RM12.5 billion if funding undertaken for the project is not revamped soon.

Said Kit Siang: “The time has come for the Prime Minister Najib to honour his pledge of public accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance which must include a commitment to freedom of information and respecting the right of Malaysians to information about the entire process as to how Malaysia could be landed with a RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal through three prime ministers, three transport ministers and four Port Klang Authority chairmen.”