Saturday, 30 May 2009
The Prime Minister, YAB Dato' Sri Najib Razak has entrusted me to answer queries pertaining to the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ). I am thankful to the Prime Minister for his confidence and his support, and this reflects the mutual understanding that we have established in the handling of this issue.
I am disappointed to learn that some opposition members have proposed that the Government cut losses and close down PKFZ. This is a premature statement by politicians who think they can make well-informed financial decisions based on a few hours of looking through the PKFZ report.
Instead, we will let the financial consultants and management experts work out a more viable solution based on further in-depth studies before a more structured approach and solution is implemented.
I am also surprised by the opposition's claim that the terms of reference for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was intentionally defined in a restrictive manner. I have no role to play in working out the exact terms of reference as it was mutually agreed upon by Port Klang Authority (PKA) and PwC.
However, it must be noted that accounting firms such as PwC has no investigative powers and neither can the PKA board give it authority to check on matters outside the board's own scope of authority.
For instance, PwC would not be the competent body to do an audit on legal implications of the project even if it was asked to.
The opposition should know that professional firms have their limitations and restrictions and they cannot be expected to play the role of prosecutor, judge, and jury.
I am also surprised at the opposition's obvious lack of understanding of the financials involved.
It is clear from the report that the RM12.5 billion figure only arises when the debt is staggered over a longer period as a result from the projected inability to service the loan installment between 2012 to 2041. The projected cumulative cost will only determine in the year 2051. Many of us may not be around by then.
The claim that the cost of the project has ‘mushroomed to to an astronomical RM12.5 b scandal under my watch' is akin to heaping debts due in 2051 on me now for malicious political reasons.
Let me remind them that I was the person who commissioned the report, advocated strongly for its release, directed the report to be made available to MACC, and to put in place mechanisms on the way forward.
Handling this matter is not an easy task but I am taking it seriously simply because it involves the people's money and interests, and any moves made should be based on sound information and after a thorough study.
It is much better than scoring political points through taking the easy way out and providing cheap shots.