Tuesday, August 21, 2007

PKFZ & IDR - the real priority for PM AAB

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don’t much care where ..." said Alice.
"Then it doesn’t matter which way you go," said the Cat.

- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Chapter 6

In malaysiakini, the news article Jitters over PKFZ extends to IDR has Shahrir Samad chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and one of the better UMNO MPs, acknowledging that the dodginess surrounding the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) development could well affect investors’ confidence in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

Nothing is more contagiously well spread than the notoriety of a country’s lack of governance in its development.

The IDR is of course AAB’s baby, and whoever had mismanaged the development of the PKFZ to come out with such a gargantuan cost overrun – yes, as they said in Godzilla, ‘size matters' – hasn’t done him any favour.

I am not normally bloodthirsty but I like to see some heads roll (for once), but the correct head please – we want none of those Tantric stuff where the sacrificial goat to appease the angry gods would turn out to be a young student studying in Taiwan.

AAB is obviously hoping for investments from those rich Gulf Arabs but unfortunately for him, the Dubai-based Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) which was appointed earlier to manage and market PKFZ, pulled out of a 15-year contract with its owner Port Klang Authority (PKA) last month because of ... well .. the word that has to be used is ... dodginess.

malaysiakini tells us that media reports indicated disagreements between Jafza and PKA over issues of red tape, inaccuracies in the minutes of meetings and attempted tax evasion. Oh oh, if true, then PKA had been very naughty in the last two issues.

Shahrir said the investor community in Dubai is small and developments affecting some of its members would be known by others. He conceded that what had happened in Port Klang would raise questions in the minds of investors about governance for the IDR.

Hey, we are talking about billions here, not chickenfeed stuff. And the concerns may not be just confined to Dubai investors. Investors from other countries would now be equally wary.

Therefore, it’s no point to sembelih (slaughter) just a ‘Wee’ sacrifice – the angry gods and cautious investors would want a Godzilla-ish offering.

And an important note to AAB, you can’t have a corrupt free country until you sort out (1) the government investigators (ACA) who thus far have worked in mysterious ways and (2) the law enforcers who admittedly are good at firing water cannons ... er ... at opposition protestors.

To help AAB understand what I mean. Here’s an extract from another malaysiakini article by Kim Quek:

........ also raises questions about the indecent haste in extending the tenure of IGP Musa Hassan.

The PM announced this on July 2 although Musa (photo) was still under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) for alleged corruption and links with underworld kingpins.

As late as July 10, Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Baharum had expressed dissatisfaction with explanations provided by the police.

So why was the PM - also internal security minister - so impatient to make such an important decision when the IGP was not due to retire until mid-September? By rushing the announcement, didn’t the PM pre-empt the ACA and his deputy in the ministry?

It appears doubtful that the PM had advised the King in advance about extending the IGP’s tenure.

The AG subsequently cleared the IGP and two other top officials - former ACA director-general Zulkipli Mat Nor and Johari - of various allegations of corruption and abuse of power - but this has done nothing to remove the stigma because the explanations lacked credibility.

I hope the King insists on an independent inquiry into the various allegations made against the IGP prior to his re-appointment. It is absolutely imperative that the person appointed as IGP should be of unquestionable integrity and competence.

Please also see my related post on Saturday, What's AAB up to, extending Musa Hassan's service?

Until AAB ties down the matter of police integrity and professionalism, to ensure a law enforcing system of impeccable repute (and alongside with it, a respected ACA which reports directly to Parliament), any hope for resolution or mitigation to the various dodgy projects/developments and questionable and unacountable public spending will just be wishful thinking.

Deal with the police (and the ACA) first - otherwise forget about improving anything else.


  1. You want a sacrifice of Godzilla proportion?
    Would the Transport Minister be big enough? This project was under his watch.

  2. The Transport Minister can do for the time being. Anyway he's from the parti kaum pendatang, so his passing will not arouse any disenchantment among umno members. If that's not enough, the raja bodek up north, also a pendatang, can go next.

  3. Alrite!
    It's about time KT paid this one a huge megabubolous(new word from me, heh) attention 'coz this scandal could telan big players.

    Thanks for the updates, dude.

  4. My bet is Badawi will come up with some motherhood statement about how government officials must take their responsibilities seriously and that will be the end of that.

    The administration's current preoccupation on this fiasco is with damage control to their "image" rather than seriously fixing the accountability and integrity of the body politic.

    More time and energy is spent on "Spin" than getting the actual job done.

    Ah, yes, us taxpayers have to foot the RM 4.3 billion fallout. While the Machais in Kuala Dimensi laugh all the way to the bank.

    By the way, did you know that Penang Port also runs a Free Commercial Zone in Butterworth ?
    I used to have some involvement with it.

    Its a very modest operation, run out of a few previously unused warehouses. They spent a few million ringgit upgrading the facilities, managed by a modest number of administrative staff.

    A good project doesn't have to cost Mega Billions.

  5. megabubulous - new to em ;-) but I sense its meaning, mate