Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Support effort to tell full PKFZ story

SPEAK UP! :: theSun Says

Support effort to tell full PKFZ story

TRANSPORT Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat seems to be besieged by all kinds of problems simply because he refuses to succumb to the “tidak apa” attitude so often adopted with relative ease by others when challenged. Furthermore, he wants to live up to his reputation as a straight talker, a reformer and a fighter. He could have just laid back and savoured his election to MCA’s presidency and his appointment to a top cabinet post. Of course what he does in his party is of little concern to most Malaysians but how he leads a ministry with such a huge budget and so much on its plate is of much concern to all the people of this country especially when it is saddled with a multi-billion ringgit scandal of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) – probably proving to be the most expensive debacle ever. He could have relegated it to the bottom of his priorities as the scandal happened during his predecessors’ watch but he decided that the rakyat must know about the billions that were spent and the billions more that may have to be spent to rehabilitate the zone. To him the government and the ministry he leads owed them that. And so he sanctioned several independent investigations, one of them by PricewaterhouseCoopers, into the badly managed project. The results highlighted the poor level of oversight and governance and numerous conflicts of interest in PKFZ’s development. That was the beginning of the problems for him. There were moments when it seemed he would be overwhelmed by them. The onslaughts against him have not stopped and may look like they are meant to distract him from his ministry’s current priority of getting to the bottom of the scandal. It is for a cause like this that everyone from those in the cabinet to the poor taxpayers must rally behind the man who is leading the charge. In the past Malaysians had been shocked by a number of public scandals. But after some days or even weeks of front-page treatment by major newspapers they subsequently were relegated to the inside pages and eventually just faded away. They resurface occasionally in reports on preliminary findings of a task force or special committee. But by that time Malaysians had already lost interest in whatever had happened even though it was their money that was involved. Even though the culprits were exposed – the public had known about them long before the findings were announced – reactions were mostly muted. But the PKFZ scandal just refuses to die or fade away. Malaysians should, therefore, support the efforts to keep it that way until they know the full story of the PKFZ.

Updated: 12:47AM Wed, 19 Aug 2009 The Sun

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