PKA inked PKFZ deal before official Cabinet nod, says witness

By Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — The Port Klang Authority (PKA) bought Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) land from Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) before the port regulators were officially notified of the Cabinet’s consent for the purchase, Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik’s graft trial heard today.

Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohd Noor, a former deputy secretary-general for planning in the Transport Ministry, told the High Court that the sales and purchase agreement was signed on November 12, 2002, but PKA only received an official extract of the Cabinet decision on November 20, 2002.

He also said the sales and purchase agreement was not revealed to the PKA board before it was signed by then-PKA chairman Tan Sri Dr Ting Chew Peh and witnessed by then-PKA general manager OC Phang.

Abdul Rahman, 61, who had been in the civil service for three decades, added that Phang signed an offer letter to KDSB on November 6, 2002, which was the same day that the Cabinet gave the green light for the purchase.

“This RM1.088 billion agreement… as a board member, would an agreement like this usually need board approval?” asked deputy public prosecutor Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah.

“Yes, it would,” answered Abdul Rahman.

Abdul Rahman testified yesterday that the Finance Ministry (MoF) preferred the government to compulsorily acquire the land in Pulau Indah, rather than buying it back.

The then transport minister, Dr Ling, had written a letter on April 3, 2002 to then-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, proposing the federal government compulsorily acquire 1,000 acres on Pulau Indah at a price of RM25 per square foot (psf) to develop a mega transportation hub in Port Klang, known as the Regional Distripark Centre.

Dr Mahathir had agreed to Dr Ling’s proposal in a letter dated five days later.

Abdul Rahman said yesterday the purchase price of RM25 psf had been arrived at by the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) based on the land cost, which included costs for reclamation, basic infrastructural development, instalment payments and bond issuance.

Dr Ling is charged with deceiving the government by concealing the fact that the 7.5 per cent interest rate was surplus to the purchase of Lot 67894 at RM25 psf — amounting to a total of RM1,088,456,000 — despite knowing that JPPH had already taken interest into account when it valued the land.