*Elements of incompetency found in PKFZ project (theStar)
*KFZ: PAC unable to conclude on nature of four letters (sun2surf)
Elements of incompetency found in PKFZ project
KUALA LUMPUR: There are elements of incompetency in the handling of the Pork Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.
PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said there were still more that needed to be investigated before the committee gave a final report to the Government and the Parliament before the Dewan Rakyat sits again in October.
“Generally, based on the PAC findings on the issue, the running of the PKFZ project had been carried out by incompetent people.
“This is not our conclusion as yet, because we calling more people for their statements before we can finish the enquiry in the next few months,” he told reporters after questioning former transport minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy during a hearing on the project at the Parliament House on Wednesday.
Azmi said the PAC will call Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail on August 12.
He added officials and former officials from the Transport Ministry, including a former secretary-general, and the directors of the Port Klang Authority board would also be called.
Azmi said Chan was questioned mostly on the three letters of support he gave to the PKFZ during his tenure as minister. A fourth letter was given to PKFZ by former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik earlier.
Dr Ling had told the PAC earlier that the letter he had issued to facilitate the financing of the PKFZ was not tantamount to a government guarantee.
Azmi said Chan was asked how decisions were made particularly in the approval for the issue of bonds to raise funds for the project,
He was also questioned on the significance of the supporting letters which were interpreted as guarantee letters and the rationale for giving them to PKA.
“Chan said they were called supporting letters as agreed by the local and Commonwealth legal experts.
“The PAC cannot make a conclusion on what the letters should be termed as because we are not the body that decides on that matter, “ he added.
It was reported that Chan had signed three letters of support during his tenure as minister which allowed the developer Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd to issue RM2.375bil worth of debt papers to raise funds for the PKFZ project.
Azmi said Chan was responsive and cooperative during the enquiry although he told the PAC that he decided to come although he was unwell. Chan left the meeting at 1.30pm.
“I’ve nothing to comment. I’m a retired man,” he said.
Earlier, Chan arrived at Parliament House at 10.55am. He smiled and greeted the media before entering the enquiry room.
He came with several people believed to be a lawyer and assistants carrying a bag of documents.
PAC deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw said there was lack of transparency and accountability in the project.
“At the moment, we see that the project didn’t adhere to financial procedures.
“Chan tried his best to reply to our question. Some questions he didn’t answer,” he added.by
ZULKIFLI ABD. RAHMAN/the Star
KFZ: PAC unable to conclude on nature of four letters
KUALA LUMPUR (July 29, 2009) : The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is unable to conclude that the four letters of support for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project issued by two former cabinet ministers are not government guarantees, its chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said today.
After hearing the testimony of former transport minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy for about two hours over the controversial RM4.9 billion project, Azmi said the question of whether the letters are government guarantees or not is subject to legal opinion.
"Although Chan and his predecessor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik have denied the letters were guarantees, these are only their opinion, Azmi told reporters.
"We have different opinions in the legal aspect and we are not the body to determine. It is up to other bodies to decide."
Chan issued three letters of support, in 2004, 2005 and 2006, which confirmed that the ministry "shall at all times in the future ensure that Port Klang Authority (PKA) is in the position to meet their liabilities in respect of the repayment amount".
The first letter of support was issued on May 28, 2003 by Ling, and he had also told the PAC two weeks ago the letter was not a guarantee and that it had no financial implication on the government.
The four letters of support have been uploaded, together with other 19 appendices to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report on July 15, on the PKFZ information portal (pkfznews.com.my).
Azmi said Chan, who was accompanied by his legal adviser, was responsive and cooperative to the committee and most of the questions posted to the ex-minister were on the letters of support.
"His stand, which had also been explained in Parliament as well as by the Finance Ministry, was that these letters were not a form of guarantee but merely support," he said
"He had obtained legal views from well-known lawyers not only in Malaysia but also at the Commonwealth level that the letters cannot be construed as guarantee.
"(However) the differences in opinions should be looked into by the parties concerned. "
Azmi said the PAC will get more input for its report from Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail on Aug 12, as well as from high-ranking officers, former board members of PKA, and former Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Zaharah Shaari on Aug 13.
He said the committee had also asked Chan to explain the rationale for some decisions made. He declined to disclose details, saying all will be made available in the PAC report.
Giam Say Khoon/sun2surf