Port Klang Brand Premium Whitewash, from PAC

26 09 2007

[ poster by GhL ]

Assalamualaikum Pak Blah! I’m back from an outstation assignment, and I brought a little present for you: premium-quality whitewash, guaranteed to to turn the blackest scandal whiter than white.

Got an image problem lately?

You and your minions just blew/embezzled billions of ringgit and don’t quite know how to explain yourselves?

Too many scandals breaking in quick succession and the pesky opposition and public just won’t leave you alone?

Don’t worry! The Public Accounts Committee is here to save your toasted arse!

While you and your minions hurriedly fly lintang-pukang overseas for a well-deserved holiday/medical leave/state visit/defence procurement contract discusssion, we at the PAC will put up an entertaining song-and-dance routine (we locals like to call it sandiwara) and we’ll make a good show of investigating the scandal, then lo-and-behold, in a couple of weeks, your record will be snow-white and your arse will smell like roses again, just in time for the sycophants to start kissing it all over again. Puteh berseri-seri!

Satisfaction guaranteed; we at the Public Accounts Committee aim to please (our UMNO-BN masters). ArrRf.

___________________________

Once again, straight from Malaysiakini:

PKFZ land deal: PAC is now happy
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz
Sep 25, 07 8:50pm
     

Two weeks ago, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Shahrir Samad said he was ‘unhappy’ with the explanation of government officials over the RM1.81 billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) land purchase.

Today, however, Shahrir said he was ‘satisfied’ with what he heard this morning from the Land Valuations Department’s director-general Abdullah Thalith Md Thani on the rationale for the supposedly high cost of the land.

“We are quite satisfied with their answers. They do things their way, and we are quite satisfied (with their explanation). The valuation process, as it’s normally done, is based on (certain) methods and principles,” he said.

Shahrir was speaking at a press conference at Parliament after chairing a PAC meeting on the PKFZ scandal.

The meeting saw the attendance of several senior officials of the Transport Ministry and Securities Commission Malaysia, in addition to Abdullah and other officers from the Valuations Department.

Addressing claims that the purchase of the land on Pulau Indah for purpose of the PKFZ development project had been highly inflated, Shahrir said such “suppositions” was probably due to the different valuation exercises that had been conducted on the same piece of land.

The different prices

While one valuation exercise conducted in 1998 had placed the land’s value at RM10.16 per square foot (psf), this was based on the premise that PKFZ’s owner Port Klang Authority (PKA) would acquire the 400 acres of the land through the National Land Code (NLC).

Another valuation exercise conducted in December the same year placed the value of the land at RM17 psf, but this was supposing the same area of land would be purchased on a commercial basis.

Yet another valuation exercise which took place in 2000 targeting an expanded area of 830 acres placed the value of the land at RM18 psf.

Along the same line, subsequent valuations exercises conducted separately in 2000 and by different valuers placed the land’s value between RM21 psf and RM25 psf, said Shahrir.

There had also been a development order (DO) issued on one part of the land that envisioned mixed development consisting of agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing activities. This raised the value of that particular area under consideration even higher, he said.

“The valuations had been conducted (at least) four times. This is what has given rise to the various interpretations,” said Shahrir.

“I feel this is what has confused a lot of parties, whether they had (merely) heard about or read about or (closely) followed the developments,” he added.

He also said the difference between the original valuation of the land and the eventual price at which it was sold was not a question for the PAC to answer.

“We are no experts (on land valuation). Are you? To me, we only ask for the facts (from the department),” he said.

While the ‘willing buyer-willing seller’ can be problematic when there is a disagreement over price, the acquisition method is also not exempted from complications if the landowner disagrees with the low price offered by the government and seeks the declaration of the courts, said Shahrir.

AG to be called in

He conceded, however, that an obvious question left unanswered is why the government decided finally to purchase the land on a commercial basis when it had the option of acquiring it at a cheaper price through the NLC.

This, he said, will be for Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail – who had recommended the acquisition via the NLC – to answer tomorrow when he presents himself in front of the PAC, said Shahrir.

“The discussion between buying the land on a willing-buyer-willing-seller basis compared with acquiring the land (through the NLC) for PKA use was based on legal considerations.

“To satisfy ourselves, PAC will invite the Attorney-General to explain and clarify and give a background of the circumstances wherein the government decided not to acquire the land,” said Shahrir.

He also noted that it was the Selangor state government that disagreed in acquiring the land through the NLC.

“The (Selangor) state government had the view that it could not be acquired. It disagreed with the acquisition,” said Shahrir.

On the fallout between PKA and the Dubai-based Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) which led the latter to withdraw from a 15-year contract to manage and market PKFZ, Shahrir said the issue was not among PAC’s current central concerns.

“Whether or not that issue is critical is subject to debate. We have not made any conclusion that the absence of Jebel Ali is more important than the issue of the advice from the legal advisors (over the matter of acquisition versus commercial purchase of the land),” he said.

‘Not in our scope’

Shahrir also said the issue of political interference or conflict of interests that has plagued PKFZ and PKA was also not of primary concern to the PAC.

The media, the Bar Council, and other professional bodies can look into the issue of whether any impropriety had occurred, he said.

“We would like to focus on our role of looking at public funds and how it has expanded and the process of expanding public funds,” said Shahrir.

He also dismissed suggestions that such concerns impinged directly on claims that public funds had allegedly been misappropriated by political figures with direct interests in the higher land purchase and development costs.

“If you put it that way, we’d have to talk to every taxpayer individually. We do not want (the scope of PAC’s inquiry) to be so wide,” said Shahrir.

“There are other agencies or bodies (to look into improper conduct of professionals). Whether right or wrong, I’m sure the lawyers have their Bar Council, (consultants) have their own standards of behavior, and so do accountants. Integrity is everybody’s business,” he added.

Shahrir also denied any need to delve deep into the issuance of bonds by the vendor of PKFZ, Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd.

“The responsibility of due diligence and compliance is entrusted to ratings advisors and other agencies, such as the crediting agencies. For the Securities Commision, they have found no problems… All other (relevant)information has been supplied,” he said.

“Whether there is any other information which requires them to investigate, that’s for them to decide. We just wanted … to hear an explanation from the Securities Commission as to the basis for their approval for the issuance of bonds. We don’t interfere with what they do,” he added.


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4 responses

26 09 2007
kjjohn

keep up the good work. This is a serious whitewash.

[ GhL ] : Thanks, KJ. We just keep telling it as it is.

26 09 2007
HJ Angus

Most interesting brand of paint.
The problem with our MPs is that most are beholden to the Government and not to the voters.

No BN back-bencher has uttered a single word about the all mega-scandals.

[ GhL ] : And no wonder, when we look at the appalling quality of most of the BN Parliamentary reps. Nazri Aziz, Bung Mokhtar and Said Yusof, anyone?

26 09 2007
Satya

AAAH!!! No! So… much… bull… head exploding… must… not… buy… bull…

[ GhL ] : Don’t faint yet, Satya, wait till we see what BS comes out of the Fairuzgate ‘independent inquiry panel’… that will be the PREMIUM stuff…

26 09 2007
Xylogue

Fundtastic !…..Nice PACkaging…………


[ GhL ] :
the whitewash isn’t even dry on Port Klang and they’re already moving on to PACkaging other scandals.

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