Port Klang Scandal – the UMNO connection ?

Posted on August 3, 2010


The arrest and charge of ex MCA president and Transport Minister Dr Ling Liong Sik  was a shock as he was rarely quoted in the investigation. Most of us expected Chan Kong Choy ( also ex Transport Minister )  as a probable suspect as he was frequently being quoted as a major decision maker in the Port Klang affairs. The blog-sphere has within thereafter the next few days abound with many theories and speculations of Ling LS charges .

– he was a sacrificial lamb , the fall guy as he is deemed no longer important to Barisan Nasional. Prophecy that Ling LS will not be convicted eventually was strong with comparisons drawn to Badawi’s time when Kasitah Gaddam ( ex Land Minister ) and Perwaja’s Eric Chia was acquitted. Many bloggers view this as just a show ( sandiwara ) when the prosecution charges  will again be thrown out by the judge due to either insufficient evidence,  technical issues and unable to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Today Dr Mahathir said  “It’s just a charge, whether it is true or not is up to the party responsible to explain. If he is not guilty, hopefully his lawyer can prove it,” .  Zaid Ibrahim had bodly said that Ling LS can sleep in peace as he will acquitted as similar to Perwaja’s Eric Chia. Even if this acquittal materialize to be true, Ling LS would have to resigned to be a bitter old man with great loss in face

– the UMNO links to the scandal  will not be investigated further with MCA taking responsibility

– To divert attention away from the government’s approval  to continue to pay KDSB bond holders

– Prime Minister Najib’s show that he is serious about combating corruption even to the extent of charging a ex MCA president. Najib’s strategy to please the rakyat in preparation for the next General Election and upcoming state election in Sarawak

– Najib is indeed serious to close this scandal even to the extent of charging all UMNO officials, ex Ministers and senior government officials ?   How far will Najib goes if he is sincere in this ?  Consider the scenario : Ling was charged with deceiving the Cabinet that the value of PKFZ land was RM25 p.s.f. not inclusive of interest when the Valuation Department had valued the land at RM25 p.s.f. inclusive of interest on deferred payment for 10 years or RM25.82 p.s.f. for 15 years. Ling had ostensibly induced the government to overpay for the land to the tune of RM720 million.  How could Ling have deceived the Cabinet when the Valuation department is under  the Minister of Finance ? This could mean the Finance Minister which was Dr Mahathir then  should also be charged in court under suspicion of being in cahoots with the Transport Minister. But will Ling LS speak out and spill the beans about The Finance Ministry and other UMNO/MCA connections ?

Asia Sentinel report today highlighted the UMNO’s connection in the PKFZ scandal. These are some excerpts of the report:

The big question is why more top politicians haven’t been charged in connection with the scandal, although according to some reports Malaysia’s attorney general is preparing charges against other officials. The Malaysian cabinet itself belatedly issued guarantees for loan overruns without the approval of the finance ministry, which Mahathir himself headed at the time as finance minister. It remains to be seen if other politicians are to be charged as well. Although Ling is the fifth person to be charged in connection with the scandal, the others are relatively small functionaries in a project that appeared to be a smorgasbord of opportunity for political figures to dine at leisure.

Chan Kong Choy, like Ling a former MCA leader and transport minister, and Phang Oi Choo, the former general manager of the Port Klang Authority Chan, were found by the Public Accounts Committee earlier to have issued letters of support and undertaking for the project to cover massive loans without the approval of the finance ministry, in effect creating the government guarantees for the loans, which resulted in vast cost overruns. Phang was charged several months ago.

A flock of UMNO officials were involved in various roles including the party’s permanent chairman, Onn Ismail, his son-in-law Faizal Abdullah, the former party treasurer Azim Zabidi and others. Others named in the PWC report included Umno officials Abdul Rahman Palil, Abdul Rashad Asari, Omar Latip and Idris Mat Jani, who served in various capacities either with the development cooperative, the supposedly independent surveyor, the law firm advising Kuala Dimensi or as shareholders in allied companies. The fact that only MCA officials have been charged has raised questions in Kuala Lumpur whether UMNO is in effect giving up on the most important member of the ruling coalition.