Archive for November, 2009

29
Nov
09

Lest We Forget – Grand Theft Malaysia

The Port Klang Free Zone scandal may be big, but it is only the latest in a long line of Malaysian scandals going back to the early 1980s. Time Magazine quoted Daniel Lian, a Southeast Asia economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore, saying that the country might have lost as much as U$100 billion since the early 1980s to corruption.”

The scandals listed below are only a small sample of the looting of the country’s coffers:

In July of 1983, what was then the biggest banking scandal in world history erupted in Hong Kong, when it was discovered that Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF), a unit of Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd, had lost as much as US$1 billion which had been siphoned off by prominent public figures into private bank accounts. The story involved murder, suicide and the involvement of officials at the very top of the Malaysian government. Ultimately it involved a bailout by the Malaysian government amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Continue reading ‘Lest We Forget – Grand Theft Malaysia’

28
Nov
09

Bala tapes: The silence is deafening

 
 
 
 
 
The silence is DEAFENING.
 
 
 
 
 

28
Nov
09

PKFZ: Malaysia’s Growing Port Scandal


As with a staggering number of industrialization projects dreamed up by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the Port Klang free zone appears to have served as a kind of gigantic smorgasbord from which officials picked out whatever they wanted to enrich themselves. In September, police froze the bank accounts of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, the corporate entity with the contract to build the port, while they attempt to sort out what happened.

“I believe they will nail a few people,” said a Kuala Lumpur observer with ties to the United Malays National Organization. “The scandal is too big to ignore. But how severe their punishment will be remains to be seen. Some will certainly go to jail. Lots of Umno guys are behind it, but they’re medium fry. The main culprits are the MCA guys plus Tiong.”

Continue reading ‘PKFZ: Malaysia’s Growing Port Scandal’

10
Nov
09

PKFZ Scandal: Ling’s “selective memory loss”

FORMER transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik should also be investigated for his part in the Port Klang Free Zone (PFKZ) scandal, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya) said today.

Pua, who made the call following the release of the PAC report on the fiasco last week, said Ling had displayed “selective memory loss” during his testimony to the committee.

He said the former MCA leader had answered “I cannot remember” or its equivalent at least 11 times when posed with certain key questions regarding the project, which raised doubts as to the veracity of his replies.

“The situation even reached a point of incredulity when PAC deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong) asked: ‘Tun, did you know of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd or KDSB (the PKFZ turnkey developer), before you left the ministry?’ and Ling responded with ‘I may have heard about it’.”

Pua wants ‘selective memory loss’ Ling to be probed
Husna Yusop and Giam Say Khoon at the Dewan Rakyat
Nov 9, 2009 – the Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 9, 2009): FORMER transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik should also be investigated for his part in the Port Klang Free Zone (PFKZ) scandal, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya) said today.

Pua, who made the call following the release of the PAC report on the fiasco last week, said Ling had displayed “selective memory loss” during his testimony to the committee.

He said the former MCA leader had answered “I cannot remember” or its equivalent at least 11 times when posed with certain key questions regarding the project, which raised doubts as to the veracity of his replies.

“The situation even reached a point of incredulity when PAC deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong) asked: ‘Tun, did you know of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd or KDSB (the PKFZ turnkey developer), before you left the ministry?’ and Ling responded with ‘I may have heard about it’.”

“We felt a bit bizarre over his answers,” Pua told reporters at the parliament lobby.

He said a thorough investigation must be conducted on the role that Ling played in the project.

Ling had denied that the ministry had any role in the finalisation of the land purchase agreement with KDSB, and placed the responsibility on the Finance Ministry which was headed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2001 and 2002.

But the testimonies of government officers and the letters by the Valuation and Property Services Department contradicted this.

They had confirmed it was the Transport Ministry which had repeatedly asked for the value of the land to be revised from RM17 to RM25 a sq ft without interest when, in fact, the Treasury had not authorised for any revision in purchase price, he said.

“The ministry under Ling had (allegedly) either defied a Treasury order dated June 12, 2001 and advice from the attorney-general (AG) for the land to be acquired compulsorily or strongly argued against doing so in securing the cabinet approval for the project,” Pua said, adding that Ling must explain the matter.

He said Ling had issued a letter of support for the project in 2003. Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had informed the PAC that the word of the government was worth its weight in gold, hence even if the letter did not specifically contain elements of guarantees, the government was obliged to honour its words.

“Therefore, Ling had also committed the government to bearing the (alleged) cost of the project amounting to RM1.31 billion,” he said.

“There were many other instances of wrongdoings which were highlighted in the PAC report that occurred during the time that Ling was the transport minister and it defies belief that he had little knowledge or could not remember at all what took place during that period.”

10
Nov
09

PKFZ Scandal: Former PKA GM blames others

Former Port Klang Authority (PKA) general manager Datin Paduka O.C. Phang named former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and former transport minister Chan Kong Choy as the officials responsible for approving the purchase of land in a single phase and not two phases, incurring more costs than the initial Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) plan.

Phang said the purchase of the land was made during the tenure of the other transport minister Tun Ling Liong Sik. Phang further said the ministers acted so upon the advice and suggestions by the Jebel Ali Free Zone International (JAFZA).

According to Phang, in the initial plan, PKFZ was to be developed in two phases. The first phase was to involve 500 acres and PKA was supposed to develop the first 500 and later the rest in Phase Two. Nevertheless, the then PM and transport minister (Abdullah and Chan) gave orders to PKA on March 3 2004 to develop 1,000 acres.

Throughout the proceedings, Phang said all the ministries involved knew of this, and the cabinet had in fact agreed to approve the purchase of 1,000 acres on a “willing seller willing buyer” basis with Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd owned by Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

Continue reading ‘PKFZ Scandal: Former PKA GM blames others’

06
Nov
09

Double-tracking project the next PKFZ?


But PAC also recently announced that it was planning to investigate the RM6 billion double-trackin
g project, after recent revelations that the project has been managed poorly, resulting in losses amounting to more than RM1 billion so far.

According to this year’s audit report, the government may have to bear part of the RM1.14 billion loss in the 179km double-tracking rail contract between Rawang and Ipoh as the project was poorly managed.

But Chan told the PAC that the double-tracking project is “three times the size” of PKFZ.

“No, it is not the biggest (project under the Ministry of Transport). Double-tracking project is much bigger. It is 12 almost 13 billion? It is three times the size of this project (PKFZ).

“We are talking only the northern, the southern part is almost four billion,” he said in his testimony to PAC on PKFZ.

Continue reading ‘Double-tracking project the next PKFZ?’

06
Nov
09

Cabinet knew all along about PKFZ problems


More than 80 per cent of the current Cabinet knew of the problems related to the PKFZ long before the rest of the country got a whiff of the stench of wrongdoing, negligence, and incompetence. They knew that former Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy overstepped the boundaries by issuing three letters of support to facilitate fund-raising for the project.

Sure, he argued strenuously that the letters only amounted to letters of support but the Cabinet knew better. The ministers knew that the letters amounted to a government guarantee.

The Cabinet knew that the government had overpaid for the PKFZ land. It also knew procedures were overlooked and laws broken and in June 2007, even recommended that action be taken against guilty parties.

So the country’s top leadership cannot feign ignorance or exhibit any surprise at the disclosures made in the PAC report.

They knew all along. They were just counting on the PKFZ scandal to go away, just like all the other scandals in the country.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet knew all along about PKFZ problems’

05
Nov
09

Dr M oversaw PKFZ land valuation

Former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik appeared to pass the buck over the costing and valuation of the Port Klang Free Trade Zone (PKFZ) land to his former boss, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In the verbatim of the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) meeting procedures released yesterday, Ling said his ministry could only “state the fact that we wanted the land.”

However, Ling pointed out that the costing and valuation of the land was determined by the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) which was chaired by former prime minister and finance minister, Dr Mahathir.

“Our job in Ministry of Transport is to only state the fact that we want the land. Costings, valuations and all that, it is not the function of the Ministry of Transport. We do not have a Valuation Department.

“Costings and valuations is a question for the Treasury to deal with. They have the Valuation Department and everything is there, not in Ministry of Transport. I think Tun Dr Mahathir who chaired it, and he was the Finance Minister also. He saw it very clearly. That was the fact of the case,” he said in the verbatim.

Dr Mahathir has remained relatively silent on the scandal which could cost taxpayers RM12.453 billion.

Continue reading ‘Dr M oversaw PKFZ land valuation’

05
Nov
09

Kelantan to receive alms instead of rightful oil royalty

The Barisan Nasional federal government will pay Kelantan “goodwill payment” for oil extracted in its waters but PAS lawmakers are disputing it, saying it is akin to receiving alms instead of rightful oil royalty.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak told Parliament that Kelantan has no right to claim for royalties from national oil company Petronas since oil was extracted beyond the state’s waters, similar to the situation in Terengganu

“We have decided to give goodwill payment to Kelantan. This decision is made considering the need to develop Kelantan in line with the federal development programme,” he told the Dewan Rakyat, adding that the state will be receiving the allocation beginning next year.

But Najib’s statement immediately sparked an uproar, with Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub saying the Kelantanese are not expecting goodwill payment but what is rightfully theirs.

“So all this while, Terengganu have been receiving goodwill payment and not royalties? Under Section 144 of the National Petroleum Act, Terengganu is receiving royalty and not courtesy payment, so how is this possible?” blasted Salahuddin.

“We are not beggars. We are demanding for what is ours,” the PAS vice-president said.

Continue reading ‘Kelantan to receive alms instead of rightful oil royalty’

05
Nov
09

Slow boat to catch big fish


So, today for good measure, I am taking a walk down memory lane to remind the powers-that-be that there are several outstanding wrongdoings which ought to be attended to. The list is a long one (forget the Port Klang Free Zone for a moment, though it will never be forgotten) and I do not want to go through the agony of digging into the archives and creating more heartache. Instead, these are issues that enjoy “top-of-the-mind” recall:

» Former Tourism Minister Datuk Azalina Othman’s excess baggage as far as staffing was concerned. She had 20 staff which contravenes the Public Services Department (PSD)’s regulations limiting the appointments to only eight. It is also in defiance of a Treasury circular on cost-cutting and austerity. The minister’s office had three special officers, five political officers, one research officer, six information technology officers and five support staff. Some appointments were backdated to circumvent circulars from the PSD and the Treasury and there was no proper selection process as the posts were not advertised.

» The RM68 million disaster called Paya Indah Wetlands still brings anger when you discover that norms in business practices were not followed. There was only one signatory to cheques. Yet, the former CEO of the Malaysian Wetlands Foundation, “Dr” Muralee Menon, who was also the former adviser to the cabinet committee on sports, and former directors – Datuk Ahmad Talib and Nor Hisham Ismail – have remained silent.

» The globe-trotting VIP wives in Selangor still continue to flaunt their designer clothes and branded handbags despite their shenanigans being laid bare at a public inquiry. Is it not abuse of power?

» The theft of land meant for public amenities in Bandar Utama may have lapsed into a distant memory in the minds of many; but each time I drive past BU8 and the Tamil school in the vicinity, I am reminded of how political parties used their influence and clout to take away what rightly belonged to the people. Do these people have any conscience? They now make public statements as if they were God-sent to cure the ills of the people.

» The former state government acquired a large plot of land near Sri Damansara for a song although it was worth a small fortune. It was purportedly for a graveyard. The state then alienated the land to cronies of a politician, who in turn flogged it for millions to a third party, a typical Ali Baba operation.

» The National Sports Council which at one time or another had RM350 million in the bank is now unable to pay athletes. Does anyone bother to find out where the money went and on the extravagance of certain officials who defend themselves by saying: “Saya yang menurut perintah”?

» What about the abuses that have been highlighted in the auditor-general’s report every year? Has anyone been “hanged” for wrongdoings? May be, one or two ikan bilis, but what about the ikan yu and those who gave the go-ahead? They are being promoted to higher positions and together come the perks – state or national awards.

Continue reading ‘Slow boat to catch big fish’





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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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