Left hand, right hand

By Terence Fernandez, The Sun

The Port Klang Authority (PKA)’s ignorance of a multi-million ringgit development on its own land is a testimony of all that ails the regulatory body.

PKA chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng was shocked when we showed him brochures of the 1Gateway Klang project which was to be built on PKA land where the authority’s senior staff quarters used to be.

But Citizen Nades and I were equally shocked that the highest ranking officer of the PKA was in the dark over the development. One wonders what else Lee doesn’t know. Is he being kept out of the loop by his officers? Are some dealings going on in the back alley without Lee or the PKA board’s knowledge?

This seems to be the case as Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin, director of Suasa Dermaga Sdn Bhd – the original developer of a 16-year-old joint venture project (Intania) with PKA, which has now joined forces with 1Gateway Klang turnkey contractor Lagenda Erajuta Sdn Bhd – attested that he had dealt with PKA officers.

With the plug being pulled on the project with the board’s rejection on Jan 17, there is talk that third parties with political links are trying to retake the project site.

It has come to one’s knowledge that a contractor linked to Dermaga Suasa had put in a separate bid for RM28 million to revive the original joint venture which had stalled following the financial crisis of 1997.

PKA land means government land and this means it is public land. It is incumbent on the PKA to ensure that it gets the best price for its property.

In the original projections for the Intania project PKA was supposed to receive RM63 million. Now that the financial bubble has burst, 1Gateway Klang if it takes off promises a return of RM30 million or 12% – whichever is higher – still not a bad deal, considering that the land is worth around RM30 million.

But it does make one wonder if those in charge of reviving the fortunes of PKA are on the same page and if we have the right people on board to steer the authority out of choppy waters.

Speaking of which, it has been confirmed that independent board member Datuk M. Rajasingam’s term has not been renewed.

The PKA had written to the transport minister requesting that the former PKA general manager, who left the authority cash-rich with RM450 million in its coffers, be retained.

However for reasons best known to the powers that be, Rajasingam has been struck off the list while the terms of political appointees have been renewed.

So back to the issue at hand, Lee now says the project has not been rejected, merely “not approved yet”.

Why this sudden softening of its stance?

If the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, what hope do we have in rehabilitating the PKA?


SPEAKING of rehabilitation, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) may now be compelled to investigate one of its own, what with allegations in the blogosphere against the MACC’s consultation and corruption prevention panel member Tan Sri Robert Phang.

Phang who has been vocal against senior government officials accused of improprieties, now finds himself in a similar position, having to account for these allegations.

“But I welcome it,” he tells me. “Please investigate and clear my name.”

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as that.

The MACC does not need all this drama when it is in the midst of re-branding itself and returning credibility to this institution.

Perhaps to save the Commission from further grief it would be best for Phang to practise what he preaches: suspend his membership until he is cleared. After all he would be doing only what he expects of those who had been at the receiving end of his tirade.