|Not only they are sharing office here in the Westports PKFZ, they also share office in Wisma Wijaya in Petaling Jaya.Come on! The case of conflict of interest is very clear-cut. It’s not up to Tiong King Sing or Chor Chee Heong, or the management of Wijaya Baru or Wijaya Baru Global Bhd or Kuala Dimensi to decide. Kuala Dimensi and Wijaya Baru are sharing the same site office in Port Klang Free Zone. These companies are clearly inter-related. It’s simply insufficient for Chor to merely opt out of meetings when the interests of Wijaya Baru/Kuala Dimensi with PKA / PKFZ were in tangle.Chor must relinquish either the chairmanship of PKA or the deputy chairmanship of Wijaya Baru Global Berhad. He must also sell all his shares in these companies (if he has any). The contracts and deals signed between PKA and Kuala Dimensi/ Wijaya Baru worth more than RM3 billion. This is certainly no small matter. Chor must not drag his feet. There’s no two ways about it.
Sticky situation for Chor?
|The recent appointment of Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairperson Chor Chee Heung has come under scrutiny, given that he is also deputy chairperson of a company that has had indirect business dealings with PKA. Chor was appointed to the board of directors of property developer and investment firm Wijaya Baru Global Bhd’s (WBGB) on April 23, 2004.On April 19 this year, he took over the helm of PKA which has oversight of the ambitious albeit currently derelict Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ). It was WBGB’s associate company Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd that sold 405ha of land on Pulau Indah to PKA in November 2002 for the free zone project.Kuala Dimensi was also appointed to develop the PKFZ, touted as a regional export and transhipment hub for manufactured goods, similar to the successful Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai.
DAP Selangor leader Ronnie Liu questioned why Chor is heading PKA.
DAP legal bureau chief Ngeh Koo Ham said the issue of potential conflict of interest is pertinent even though the land sale and development contract went through in 2002.
“Even though these decisions were made before Chor’s time, it is not acceptable that a public authority such as PKA should be in such a position in relation to a private company – in this case Kuala Dimensi – that it had engaged,” said Ngeh.
Chor was Transport Ministry parliamentary secretary from 1995-2000 and deputy minister in other portfolios until he stepped down from government in 2004. The following year, he lost his bid to become one of MCA’s four vice-presidents and dropped out of active politics.
However, a corporate lawyer noted that the legal position on Chor’s dual posts depends on provisions of the statute governing PKA.
Different public authorities have different things to say in such situations where its office-bearers are also at the helm of private companies, he said.
It is allowed so long as Chor has declared his interests to both parties, he said, adding that space should be given to Chor to state his likely course of action in the event of a conflict between the interests of PKA and WBGB.
“Legal issues aside, however, it remains relevant whether it is morally proper for PKA’s chairperson to be the deputy chair of a private company it has engaged,” he added.
PKA’s legal advisor declined to comment on the issue, while general manager OC Phang – who is also PKFZ managing director – refused to any questions.
Chor, however, said the issue of conflict of interest does not arise.
“When there is a decision to be made by PKA that would affect the PKFZ, I would not participate. This is to be fair to PKA,” he said when contacted.
Backing Chor was WBGB chief executive officer Tiong King Sing, who claimed there is no connection between his company and Kuala Dimensi.
According to records in the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), Kuala Dimensi is owned by an investment holding and management firm Wijaya Baru Holdings Sdn Bhd (WBHSB).
At the same time, in WBGH’s 2006 annual report, Kuala Dimensi is listed as an “associate company” from which it derived “contract revenue”.
CCM documents show Tiong to be a director and shareholder in both WBGB and WBHSB, but he maintained that “there is no connection” between these companies either.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that WBGB, WBHSB, and Kuala Dimensi occupy the same premises at Wisma Wijaya in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
When contacted, the WBHSB company secretary said she holds the same post at WBGB, but she too said these “are two different entities”.
Tiong further said Chor had asked the WBGB board if he should resign or turn down the PKA appointment. They had assured him there was no need to do either.
“He did this so that there would be no misinterpretation by the public later. The board told him there is no conflict of interest,” he added.