Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid

Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said the committee had found several discrepancies in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) development project including the government having to pay for a bond raised by a company.

He said there were discrepancies like the government having to pay for a bond raised by a company.

Port Klang Authority (LPK) chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, in a press statement on Aug 10, had said the government had to pay in instalments, once a year, in full to the bond owner, Azmi told reporters after questioning Lee at Parliament building on Thursday.

Azmi said the PAC could not give specific views on the issue as it had legal implications. He asked the authorities to take appropriate action.

“This is what we say as discrepancies that must be determined, maybe by the court,” he said.

Azmi said in today’s proceeding Lee could not provide detailed information as the PKFZ Board of Directors and the special task force set up by the government had made a decision on the possibility of taking action against certain parties.

“Whatever he can explain, he explained. On matters that he could not explain, he apologised.

“He also sought advice from his lawyers. We respect the decision because there can be legal implications if the case is taken to court. They don’t want any prejudice to the issues,” he said.

Asked whether there was “overclaim” in the PKFZ issue, Azmi, a former minister, said the matter was discussed at length.

“I cannot tell in detail because it entails legal implications. We’ll support appropriate action taken, it’s up to the PKFZ Board of Directors,” he said.

PKFZ, an integrated 400ha free commercial and industrial zone adjacent to Port Klang housing various facilities such as a warehouse, an office block and a four-star hotel, is embroiled in a controversy after it was revealed that the development cost has shot up from RM2.5 billion to RM 4.6 billion.

The Port Klang Authority has lodged a police report after a task force set up to investigate the controversy found billing discrepancies for between RM500 million and RM1 billion to Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, project turnkey contractor, and development contractor BTA Architects.

The Port Klang Authority had bought 1,000 acres (400 hectares) of PKFZ land on Pulau Indah from Kuala Dimensi in 2002 for RM25 per sq feet. Kuala Dimensi was later appointed developer of the turnkey project. It raised a bond to finance the PKFZ development.

Azmi said: “Ideally, the bond should be raised by LPK because it is a government agency.”

Azmi said the PAC was also told that the PKFZ had contacted Kuala Dimensi to discuss and confirm the claims made by the company.

On the report by the special task force formed by the Transport Ministry to investigate the irregularities, Azmi said the PAC was not given a copy.

“We did not get the report as it is a confidential document and will have legal implications because they want to bring the case to court,” he said.

He hoped PAC could visit PKFZ to get the real picture.

“We hope to because by now, they have quite a number of tenants who have moved in although the percentage is still low…17 per cent.

“We would like to see physically how it looks like because much of the buildings have been taken over, so they have to occupy, some still under dispute, so we have to know at least, physically when we see it, we’ll be able to have a better perception,” he said.

Azmi said PAC had also summoned Kuala Dimensi chairman or its representative for questioning next Wednesday. — BERNAMA