Hwa Beng apologises to public after PKFZ scandal ends without culprit

By Zurairi AR
Former PKA chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng 'apologised' for taking up the time of local law enforcers such as the police and the MACC. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Former Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng today apologised for launching investigations into the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal that today concluded without a single conviction.

Lee, who was sacked by MCA in 2013, lamented that he only ended up “wasting public resources” in trying to get to the bottom of the scandal that had led to numerous trials.

“I have to apologise to taxpayers for spending thousands of ringgit in legal fees and all,” Lee said when contacted by Malay Mail Online.

Lee also apologised for taking up the time of local law enforcers such as the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

“I myself had spent so many man hours. I attended so many court cases in five years,” said the former Subang Jaya assemblyman.

Lee was PKA chairman between 2008 and 2011, and the author of a book on the scandal titled PKFZ: A Nation’s Trust Betrayed.

National news agency Bernama reported today that former Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) project manager Law Jenn Dong, KDSB chief operating officer Stephen Abok and architect Bernard Tan were all acquitted of their cheating charges by the Shah Alam Sessions Court.

The three had been the only people still on trial over the 2008 scandal that could potentially cost taxpayers RM12 billion.

All others previously charged in the scandal including former ministers Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy as well as former PKA chairman OC Phang have also been acquitted.

Dr Ling had pitched the idea to create a free trade zone at the Port Klang area and turn it into a regional integrated cargo distribution and industrial park in 1997, when he was then the transport minister.

It was originally to have cost RM1.1 billion, but this later grew to RM4.6 billion in 2007.

Following allegations of corruption in the project, then-transport minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat commissioned an audit by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2008.

The audit concluded that the total cost of the project could balloon to RM12.5 billion after factoring in interest payments.