Pakatan ‘unconvinced’ by charges against Ling

By Adib Zalkapli and Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider


KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders remained unconvinced by the government’s move to charge Tun Dr Ling Ling Siok today citing a case involving former minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam who was charged for corruption but subsequently acquitted.

DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua told The Malaysian Insider that the charge against the former transport minister indicated that more senior public officials should be brought to court.

“The nature of the charge appears to involve conspiracy, cheating the government. That would mean that there are other big fishes who could be charged, hopefully in the upcoming few days,” said Pua.

“At this point we can only hope that the prosecution will carry out a thorough and competent case. I hope that they will ensure that the guilty will be brought to book,” he added.

Dr Ling was charged under Section 418 of the Penal Code for misleading the Cabinet in 2002, into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land in Pulau Indah for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

If convicted he faces up to seven years jail.

The PKFZ project was mooted during Dr Ling’s tenure as Transport Minister and the cost of the project, initially estimated at less than RM2 billion, more than doubled to RM4.6 billion by 2007.

The cost of the project is projected to swell further to as much as RM12.5 billion due to interest costs from deferred payments if the trans-shipment hub fails to perform.

“We do not want to see more cases of so-called big names being charged but acquitted a few years later,” said Pua.

“I cannot say that I am sceptical. I want to give the Attorney-General the benefit of the doubt,” said the Petaling Jaya Utara MP.

Meanwhile PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar described the move as a diversion as it was made just one day after the government ordered  Port Klang Authority (PKA) to pay PKFZ its bond obligation of RM222.58 million to Freezone Capital Bhd (FZCB).

“There is a possibility that this is just a political ploy. He was charged just one day after the government ordered the Port Klang Authority to pay the bondholders,” said Mahfuz.

“So he was probably charged to diffuse the tension caused by the government’s decision. I won’t be surprised if there is a conspiracy to weaken the case against Ling Liong Sik,” he added.