19 September, 2009

RPK strikes again !

Raja Petra Kamaruddin had posted digital copies of leaked documents on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), including classified Cabinet papers, what appears to be a request from the Finance Ministry for a retrospective increase in cost for the PKFZ project from about RM1 billion to nearly RM5 billion.

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail was quoted as saying that if the document was genuine, action could be taken against the editor of the website under the Official Secrets Act.

The 18-page document bearing the reference number KK/BPKA/D5(Y)/540/1/1 was published on the website yesterday with Raja Petra alleging that the government knew about the skyrocketing cost to develop the project but condoned it.

The document, dated June 22,2007, is purportedly a Treasury memorandum to the cabinet signed by the then finance minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

In it, the cabinet is asked to retrospectively approve an increase in the cost of the PKFZ project from RM1.088 billion to RM4.6 billion.

The document also said the government approved the purchase of the land via a "Letter of Support" from the transport minister with an assurance that government bonds would be used to finance the project.

Gani said he would talk to the relevant authorities on investigating the matter.

"If the document is a fake, then it is nothing more than an attempt to create unrest in the country. However, if it is genuine, then investigations under the OSA must be carried out."

Gani said possession and release of classified government documents were serious offences.

The PKFZ issue was still under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the police, among others, "and the government is not hiding anything".

The shocking revelation has forced Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak into damage control mode. He has ordered the police to immediately investigate the security lapse.

"Anyone who exposes cabinet papers will be subjected to police investigations and action under the Official Secrets Act will depend on the investigations," Najib told reporters late on Friday.

Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar confirmed a probe has begun.

“We are investigating to find out who is responsible for exposing information on the cabinet paper,” he said.

PKFZ is an integrated 1,000 acre commercial and industrial zone located adjacent to the national gateway and transhipment hub in Port Klang.

It is the government’s largest port investment ever. However due to massive cost overruns that independent auditors have blamed on weak governance and questionable practice, the original development budget has ballooned multiple folds and and could hit RM12.5 billion if funding undertaken for the project is not revamped soon.

Said Kit Siang: “The time has come for the Prime Minister Najib to honour his pledge of public accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance which must include a commitment to freedom of information and respecting the right of Malaysians to information about the entire process as to how Malaysia could be landed with a RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal through three prime ministers, three transport ministers and four Port Klang Authority chairmen.”

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