KUALA LUMPUR, 3 June 2009: Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat today rejected a call by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang’s challenge to have an open debate on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).
“I see no reason to waste valuable time to engage in fruitless public debates of any form that do not help to solve the problems,” Ong blogged from Beijing, where he is accompanying Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on his official visit to China.
“It appears that public debates are the opposition’s obvious idea of resolving all the country’s ills,” he wrote in the latest posting at his blog www.ongteekeat.net, today.
Ticking off Lim for not reading the blogs or the published media on his explanation on the issue, Ong said Lim asked him for the way forward when he (Ong) had clearly spelt out that the Port Klang Authority (PKA) would act on four fronts based on the findings, on the very day the report was released.
The four fronts are to seek legal recourse for contractual shortcomings or irregularities, to seek professional advice on the restructuring of financial obligations of PKA, to improve and tighten governance issues at the management and board levels of PKA and to further beef up the day-to-day management of PKFZ to strengthen operations and improve its financial returns.
“It will save people a lot of time not to repeat ourselves for the benefit of self-serving politicians,” he added.
In today’s posting, Ong also reiterated the earlier government stand rejecting a notion by the opposition that the troubled PKFZ should be closed, saying that “it is clearly a knee-jerk reaction which [smells] of a political agenda and defeatist attitude”.
“We are not sitting still and playing rhetoric. In the weeks and months ahead, my ministry and PKA will put in place a series of action plans to lessen the pain on taxpayers,” he said.
Ong said professional experts and entrepreneurs had been roped in to provide their views and expertise on how to bring the PKFZ back on track for the purpose for which it was originally conceived.
“If the opposition has constructive inputs, we would be more than happy to accommodate their ideas on how to save the project and make it thrive. I will continuously engage and update the public on the milestones that shall be spelt out in our roadmap,” he said.
Ong also said the PKA had been requested to submit 14 copies of the report as well as the appendices to members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
“It will do so as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the government was now working intensely on a roadmap towards the recovery of the PKFZ.
“When billions of ringgit and the future of our children are at stake, we should take this situation very seriously and make wise decisions based on the best input available from the relevant parties,” he added. — Bernama