Lee and Ong reject RPK’s allegations

They say the decision to accept the high costing from KDSB in the PKFZ debacle was made before their tenures as PKA chairman and Transport Minister 

(Free Malaysia Today) – Former Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairman Lee Hwa Beng has denied that he and former MCA president Ong Tee Keat were guilty of wrongdoing in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

“The approval [of the project] was done during Chor Chee Heung’s term as PKA chairman and the Transport Minister then was Chan Kong Choy.

“I am not hiding anything because it was mentioned in my book, ‘PKFZ: A Nation’s Trust Betrayed,’” said Lee, who was appointed as PKA chairman on April 1, 2008 until 2011.

In an article entitled “The Hidden Betrayals” published yesterday, Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin claimed that Ong, who was then Transport Minister, and Lee were not as innocent as they claimed to be.

The blogger reproduced a letter dated May 10, 2008, which has no reference number.

It is believed that the letter was written by Ong in his capacity as Transport Minister. It referred to a 6.23% difference in costing estimates provided by turnkey contractor Kumpulan Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) and quantity surveyor QS4 Consortium. It said PKA agreed that the difference was reasonable and that KDSB’s pricing at RM 1,120,659,538.44 was acceptable.

Subsequent paragraphs emphasised that PKA considered KDSB’s requests valid and recommended that prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi accept all of the company’s costing proposals.

A letter from the Prime Minister’s Department indicated that Abdullah accepted KDSB’s proposals.

These letters, according to Raja Petra, were not mentioned in Lee’s book, which the author says chronicles the nation’s biggest financial scandal ever.

Ong, who is the current MP for Pandan, has also dismissed the allegations.

He said he signed the May 10 letter because the Finance Ministry required it to be submitted with the costing report prepared by the PKA board under the chairmanship of Chor, the current Minister of Housing and Local Government.

“The decision was made on Feb 5, 2008, before I joined the Cabinet in mid-March 2008,” Ong said in a press statement.

“I was duty-bound to submit the PKA board’s decision and acceptance of the price quotation from KDSB as PriceWaterhouse Coopers had not yet been commissioned then to conduct the audit and position review of the PKFZ debacle.”

Ong also said Raja Petra had ignored the fact that the evaluation report was instrumental in his call for an independent probe in August 2008.