Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Peeling Of The PKFZ Onion

My departed blogger friend Capt Yusof was the first to blow the whistle on the rape that is now called PKFZ; he was the first to blog about it anyway. It was a matter right up his creek and I remember reading his post, "Mayday for Port Klang" as early as in July 2007. It is now August 2009. Two bloody years and we are still waiting for real answers. The investigations were started in earnest only after much public hue and cry and now, almost two years of pedantic and seemingly ponderous inspection later are we only witnessing the fruits of Capt Yusof's initial labor. Never you mind, my dear friend...the rats are still on the ship! They are now being identified and will sink with the ship!

A buddy of mine in logistics business told me the PKFZ started out as a good idea and a transit/bulk breaking hub. Now apparently it is being used by "pirates" and parallel importers bringing in goods and seemingly it is easier to clear customs at the PKFZ. If what he says is true then the cost to the tax payer through lost excise revenue makes losses even higher than RM12.5 billion.

Even after the PwC Report was ready, man-in-the storm Ong Tee Keat (OTK) seemed reluctant to release it. The whole thing played out like a striptease with the government (MOT) tantalizing the public with peek-a-boos. Will the rakyat get to see the show to its end or will there be a "raid" and "lights on" to allow the performers to hide in plain sight? The law suits have started by the way.

When the PwC report was finally released on 28th May 2009, it merely meant the pressure was no longer on the report release per se. The initial findings gave rise to more questions; "What is the true cost for the project?", "Where are the other issues?", "What is being done?", "What does the future hold for PKFZ?", "Who are the real culprits?"...

Are all the above intentionally done to buy time? Is it stupid to ask buy time for whom? OTK now appears to be in a running battle with Teong King Sing (TKS), the boss of Kota Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB), which is the developer of PKFZ. Yet, as recent as April this year he was using their private jets like his own. His usage: Feb 19 : from Johor Baru to Subang; March 7 : Subang to Kuantan and back; March 24: Subang to Johor Baru and back; and April 20 : Subang to Johor Baru and back. During the period, PwC was investigating PKFZ. Certainly OTK cannot be so naive to think that he will not be compromised when he used those jets. Maybe he could be but probably not! Could he be so comfortable demanding the service because he is probably as deep in the muck as his two predecessors?

The Sun leaked some pertinent details of the PwC findings as early as May 5th, about three weeks before the actual release on the 28th May. 11 days before May 5th, OTK was still trying to use the KDSB jets and was apparently turned down; a lovers' "quarrel" perhaps? Why was OTK so confident to the point of cockiness that he had no qualms jetsetting around in KDSB planes? Did he have an insurance policy?

OTK's main defense against TKS's RM10,000,000 allegation is that if they were indeed in cahoots, why would the former still launch the investigation in the first place and release the report thereafter? Why? Because OTK was faced with Hobson's Choice that's why! Is it an elaborate wayang kulit we are witnessing here?

The RM10,000,000 cash in 3 installments? RM3.33 million in say RM100 bills would still need a very big bag indeed. In Euro or USD equivalent perhaps? Better still, RM3,330,000 is about SGD1,361,000 at prevailing exchange rates; just 136 pieces of SGD10,000 notes. Fits nicely into a suit pocket.

Not reflected in MCA accounts? You joking? Why would it?

If this allegation is a mere red herring, TKS and OTK might as well have said RM100,000,000 in cash and hope fiction be stranger than truth.

RM500 million lawsuit? Well, it makes for a good show doesn't it? Don't think it will ever see its day in court! Might as well make it RM13 billion since OTK says it will be donated...hopefully back to the rakyat. Anyway, what better way to wrap everything up in a big bundle and throw to the judiciary then cry sub judice while the case meanders laborously through the court process.

This TKS and OTK spat seems to be only the first layer of the PKFZ onion that is being shown to the public. Could it be that OTK's insurance policy is the fact that UMNO warlords (especially Selangor ones) are also involved? Please read BN hands are caught in the PKFZ cookie jar. Are these two Kapitan Cinas protecting their UMNO political masters in hope of ultimately getting immunity through adept UMNO sleight of hand innoculation? UMNO after all needs also to protect its own.

The more layers there are to this PKFZ onion, the more tears the rakyat will have to shed as the layers are peeled off...if they are. Is the persecution of PR Selangor State assemblymen by the MACC part of the whole scheme of things? Isn't the PKFZ located in Selangor? It looks like Big Bro UMNO cannot afford to be seen out in the open so what we get to see is a Chinaman show involving a MCA minister in a MCA Ministry and some Sarawakian Chinaman. How I wish Capt Yusof is still alive.

Today, PKA Chairman, Dato' Lee Hwa Beng lodged a report with the MACC against 5 parties who are essentially Chinese for possible conspiracy over the PKFZ scandal. MACC report lodged? You kidding? That same MACC? Well, it looks like we are still at the first layer of the onion.

It is now Najib's baby but will the PKFZ become his Waterloo and BN's Watergate? One thing is almost for sure; there will not be anybody hauled in before the next General Elections. My hope is that the perpetrators are finally caught, prosecuted and hung the next government.

Perhaps this "New Whistle Blower on the Blog" of apparent vigilantes can blow the lid off the PKFZ scandal sooner rather than later and not go the way the MACC whislers seem to be where!

This article in the NST today takes the cake.

PKFZ contractor ready to go to court on over-billing issue

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, the turnkey contractor of the scandal-hit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today it was ready to go to court or for arbitration on the alleged over-billing of the multi-billion ringgit project.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said Kuala Dimensi, which was represented by deputy chief executive officer Datuk Faizal Abdullah, had denied any over-billing.

"Kuala Dimensi said they are still waiting for the claim from the Port Klang Authority (PKA) and after that, they are willing to go to court or for arbitration," Azmi told reporters.

Today was the first time Kuala Dimensi was appearing before the parliamentary committee and Faizal was questioned for two and a half hours at the Parliament building where the hearing was held.

The company's chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, was present in the morning but left before the hearing began.

PKFZ, an integrated 400ha free commercial and industrial zone adjacent to Port Klang, is embroiled in controversy after it was revealed that the cost of its development had shot up from RM2.5 billion to RM4.6 billion.

PKA, which owns PKFZ, had lodged a police report over billing discrepancies of RM500 million to RM1 billion following a task force finding.

Azmi said Kuala Dimensi also suggested that the government redeem the bonds issued by the company earlier to save on the interest cost.

"I think what Kuala Dimensi meant is that PKA should be looking into ways to try to resolve this, among which is the early redemption so you can save on the interest cost".

Azmi said the real cost the government had to bear in this issue was actually the interest cost and to delay payment would result in the cost going up.

Kuala Dimensi also explained that the amount of RM4.6 billion was in fact the payment or cost borne by the government in their contract and the company only got RM1.6 billion to RM1.7 billion as the rest was for the interest cost.

Azmi said there were weaknesses in the project, especially in its marketing, and this had burdened the cost and led to many other issues.

"We found the weaknesses to be more inclined towards project management... contract management itself...," he said, adding that if project was marketed and 90 per cent of the area was taken up, the issue would not have come up.

"But because of the marketing, it became a big issue and placed a burden on cost, and various issues came up, as we know today," he said.

Azmi said there were matters that Faizal would not answer because it might be prejudicial to the legal action taken by the company on the PKFZ fiasco.

Apart from the PAC probe, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is also investigating the PKFZ issue. - BERNAMA

The PAC blames it on poor marketing and project management. The PAC chairman seems preparing the ground to sweep everything under the "bad management" carpet. He says, "We found the weaknesses to be more inclined towards project management... contract management itself...", "...if project was marketed and 90 per cent of the area was taken up, the issue would not have come up"."But because of the marketing, it became a big issue and placed a burden on cost, and various issues came up, as we know today," He conveniently forgot that the ridiculously hiked up land acquisition was a major cost and is telling us that if successful marketing had brought in more revenue, all this would be hidden under a sea of black Petronas? He also said the project managers should have controlled construction cost...has he forgotten the KT Stadium?

Is it the case of after the clean-out, the clean-up has begun.

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