PETALING JAYA, March 3 — Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail urged voters today to punish Barisan Nasional (BN) for being negligent in losing RM12.5 billion in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, pointing out the country could not risk such profligacy in future administrations. “Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was so easily fooled in the PKFZ scandal. This includes the Cabinet from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s time. Most of those that were fooled then are still in power including the current prime minister and his deputy,” the PKR president said, referring to Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin respectively.
Former Transport Minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, who held the post from July 2003 but stepped down prior to the March 2008 election, was charged on Monday with three counts of cheating, totalling RM1.9 billion in the project that may eventually cost the government RM12.5 billion, six times the original estimate.
“How can we allow this group of negligent leaders who have lost RM12 billion to control the country? What is the guarantee that they will not do the same seeing as they are still proud enough to propose a 100-storey building,” Dr Wan Azizah said, referring to the RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka project.
Former MCA deputy president Chan pleaded not guilty to deceiving then-prime minister Abdullah about development and upgrading work at the PKFZ site between 2004 and 2006.
In the first charge, Chan was accused of misleading Abdullah in 2004 into approving Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) as the main developer to build up a 1,000-acre piece of land on Pulau Indah at an estimated cost of RM1 billion.
The second charge totalling RM510.38 million concerned more development work in PKFZ in 2005 and that the project was to be financed by government bonds through a public company.
The last charge also concerned infrastructure work in early 2006, amounting to RM335.8 million.
Another former transport minister, Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, was also hauled up last year over irregularities with the shipping hub project.
The former MCA president was charged last July under section 418 of the Penal Code for misleading the Cabinet in 2002 into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land on Pulau Indah for the PKFZ project.
The PKFZ project was mooted during Dr Ling’s tenure as transport minister and the cost of the project, initially estimated at less than RM2 billion, more than doubled to RM4.6 billion by 2007.
The cost of the project has been further projected to swell to as much as RM12.5 billion due to interest incurred from deferred payments if the trans-shipment hub fails to perform.
Dr Wan Azizah said it was the responsibility of all Malaysians to reject careless leaders to save the country from going bankrupt.