NEWS ANALYSIS BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
November 19, 2013
Former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik was acquitted last month over three charges of cheating the government in relation to the Port Klang Free Zone land deal. – The Malaysian Insider pic, November 19, 2013.If there is one lesson to be learnt from the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco, it is that some Malaysians never learn their lessons and continue making the same mistakes.
And in the process, waste millions of public funds.
Yesterday, de facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri told Parliament that the Attorney General’s Chambers did not appeal against Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik’s acquittal in the PKFZ scandal as the probability of overturning the acquittal was “very slim”.
She said it was difficult to dispute the testimonies of the defence witnesses – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (former prime minister), Tan Sri Fong Chan Onn (former human resources minister) and Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir (former tourism minister).
“It is highly unlikely that the Cabinet was falsely misled to buy the land, so if there is any appeal, it would involve the question of fact and not question of law and, as such, it would be hard to argue the case successfully.
“Based on these factors, the success rate is very slim and as a result, the AG’s Chambers did not file any appeal,” she said in reply to points raised by MPs during Budget 2014 at the committee stage in Parliament.
Surely the AG could have saved the government millions and a major embarrassment if he only interviewed Dr Mahathir and the other ministers before deciding to charge Dr Ling?
Isn’t that pretty elementary? Instead, the public prosecutor went ahead and charged Dr Ling, only to have the case blow up in the face when the former transport minister insisted they were not cheated and knew the score all along.
How’s that for looking like a complete fool? And fooling the people that action was being taken to ensure that there would be punishment meted out to those who saddled the public with a potential RM12.5 billion bill for a failed project.
That is the danger of going for headlines in the war against corruption. Going for big cases without ensuring that justice will be served.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak can’t wash his hands off this debacle as he was a member of the Mahathir administration when the PKFZ deal went through.
This is now a blot on his administration as no one is closer in uncovering the truth and the people involved in the huge PKFZ debacle, which initially cost RM1.1 billion but quadrupled to RM4.6 billion by 2007.
PKFZ was a huge mistake that cost the public billions. The first PKFZ criminal case is now also a mistake. Will the other cases also be mistakes? There are three more that will come under greater scrutiny now that Dr Ling has been acquitted.
Or is incompetence an accepted hallmark in all branches of the Government these days? And millions more will go to waste in the pursuit of headlines to show how much the Government is doing for the people of Malaysia. – November 19, 2013.