KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — The DAP today demanded all minutes of the Port Klang Authority (PKA) meetings in 2009 and 2010 be made public, while accusing its chairman Datuk Teh Kim Poh and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha of misleading the public over the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) bonds payment fiasco.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said Teh was merely attempting to protect his boss Kong on Friday when the former denied allegations that the minister had been the one who had overturned PKA’s decision not to pay turnkey developer Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) bondholders.
“Teh (picture) must be either completely clueless about what had happened in 2009 and 2010 or he is just lying through his teeth to protect the boss Kong who appointed him to his current position,” Pua said in a statement here.
The DAP publicity secretary then cited a media report on July 28, 2010 that said it was Kong who had used his ministerial powers to override PKA’s decision to refuse to make the final RM222.58 million to the special purpose vehicle set up by KDSB to raise funds from the market.
The same report, Pua said, had also quoted Kong as telling reporters that “we will pay according to what has been decided much earlier; according to the schedule that was set a long time ago. I will talk to them (PKA)’.”
Pua said Kong had also at the time refused to consider various suggestions to hold the payments due in escrow, to be made to the rightful parties only after all the legal disputes regarding the scandal-ridden PKFZ have been settled.
“Such recklessness can only be interpreted as an attempt to bail out KDSB from its predicament when its bondholders exercises the undertaking which has been issued by KDSB, where KDSB will be forced to make the hundreds of millions in outstanding bond repayments,” the opposition lawmaker said.
Pua scoffed at Teh’s claim during a press conference on Friday that previous payments of RM660 million 2009 and 2010 to KDSB bondholders respectively were made and approved by then PKA chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, and were merely a continuation of the policies started by Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, who was the transport minister in 2009.
At a press conference on Friday, Teh had claimed that it was Ong who had begun payments despite a dispute over whether the turnkey developer had completed up to RM1.6 billion in works.
“During his term, two payments of RM660 million each were made in June 2009 and June 2010. So under Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, this is just a continuation,” Teh had said at the media conference.
Ong had said during the launch of Lee’s book on PKFZ on Tuesday that the government should not pay the bondholders, with another RM733.37 million due at the end of June, until the legal disputes have been settled.
Ong has also said the government had paid RM3.039 billion to bondholders despite outstanding legal suits in the scandal that ballooned from an initial RM1.1 billion to a possible RM12.5 billion.
“I challenge Teh, as well as Kong, to make publicly available all PKA minutes of meetings pertaining to the above payments in 2009 and 2010 to prove that it was not the latter who overturned the payment decisions,” Pua said today.
“If the minutes of meetings in PKA indeed proved that it was Ong and Lee who approved the payments to KDSB bondholders, then surely there will be nothing to lose and all to gain with the public disclosure of the PKA meeting minutes.
“In fact I would like to see Teh prove Ong wrong, when the latter claimed that it was the then Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who overturned his decision not to pay the KDSB bondholders in 2009,” he added.
The PKA had insisted last Wednesday that it paid bondholders to avoid breach of contract in light of ongoing legal cases in the scandal.
But the DAP has said there are no contract terms requiring PKA to pay if work was not completed as under the bond agreement, KDSB was to cover any shortfall in payment due to incomplete work and gives bondholders the power to sue the company in such an event.
The PKA, which Lee left in March 2011, has also denied the DAP’s claims that it dropped legal action against KDSB for alleged fraud, unconscionable conduct and overcharging in favour of resolving the matter through arbitration.
The project, initially tagged at RM1.1 billion after it was mooted by then Transport Minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in 1997, more than quadrupled to RM4.6 billion by 2007.
A position review by top accounting firm PwC revealed in 2009 that the total cost including interest from debt repayments could reach RM12.5 billion.
Since December 2009, six individuals have been charged in court including ex-MCA president Dr Ling and his successor as transport minister, former MCA deputy chief Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, who are both accused of lying to the Cabinet.