From Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang’s blog…
This morning, together with Ronnie Liu, Peter Tan, Tee Boon Hock and other DAP Klang leaders, I visited the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), which has been shrouded in such secrecy despite being open to operation more than six months ago on November 1, 2006.
The PKFZ has the forlorn and pathetic air of another failed multi-billion ringgit mega project and Malaysiakini reporters Fauwaz Abdul Aziz and Sabrina Chan are right in coining the term “mega ghost-town” for it.
The PKFZ offers 512 standardised warehouse units, 260 ha of open land and four blocks of eight-storey office complexes. After seven months of opening, there are only signs of two of the 512 warehouse units being taken up but not yet utilized. The only company that has visible presence of operations is the Norwegian oil and gas company Aker Kvaerner. Otherwise, the 1,000-acre PKFZ is an expanse of empty office blocks, warehouse units and land blocks.
There is no vibration of activity or even sense of commercial life!
No wonder the authorities concerned were so upset when they received word that I was going to visit the Westports and a security detail was very rude in demanding to know what I was doing at PKFZ, inviting an earful as to why a visit by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader should be regarded as akin to trespass especially when Parliamentary sanction will have to be sought if there is to be a billion-ringgit bailout of the failed PKFZ.
Many questions swirl around the PKFZ for the past few years without answers, and it is time that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s pledge to lead an open, accountable and transparent administration be respected by his subordinates, particularly the following personalities:
1. The Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy should explain
• the viability, feasibility and integrity of the PKFZ; and
• why he appointed MCA MP and former Deputy Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung as the new Port Klang Authority (PKA) Chairman in April when he should have known that there would be a conflict of interest situation in view of Chor’s position as Deputy Chairman of Wijaya Baru Global Bhd (WBGB), an associated company with Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd., which sold the 1,000 acres of land for the PKFZ at the very inflated price of RM1.8 billion when it was bought for RM95 million and awarded a RM1.3 billion contract to develop the same piece of land.
2. The PKA Chairman Chor Chee Heung should explain whether he would relinquish either the post of PKA Chairman or Deputy Chairman of Wijaya Baru Global Bhd to resolve his conflict-of-interest.
3. The main beneficiary of the PKFZ mega-project, Datuk Tiong King Sing, the MP for Bintulu, should clear the air over the many questions about the mega-project right from the genesis of the project to its present day. Tiong had made a name for himself for demand for transparency and outspokenness against organised crime in Sarawak. He must show he is fully committed to transparency in the PKFZ deal, as he is the main mover of the project being the person behind Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd and Wijaya stable of companies, directly involved in the RM1.8 billion land sale to PKFZ and the RM1.3 billion contract to develop the land.
The PKFZ was touted as modeled after the successful Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, to be the regional export and transshipment hub for manufactured goods. After expenditure of over RM3 billion ringgit, the PKFZ has nothing to show except “the forlorn and pathetic air of a failed mega-project”!