Former MCA President and Transport Minister Tun Ling Liong Sik was today charged in the Kajang Sessions Court over his involvement in the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.
He is the second MCA president to be placed in the dock after Tan Koon Swan. Today’s prosecution of Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik over his role in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, has sent shockwaves through the MCA, leaving party leaders stuttering in response.
Dr Ling is believed to be the first Tun in the country to face such prosecution.
Ling is charged with misleading the cabinet between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002, ( Section 418 of the Penal Code). into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land on Pulau Indah for a project, now known as PKFZ, at a price of RM25psf on a deferred payment method for a 15-year period, at a 7.5 percent interest rate . The cumulative interest paid would total RM720 million at the end of the repayment period.
He was also offered an alternative charge, under Section 417 of the Penal Code, for the same offence.
According to the charge sheet, the Finance Ministry had already valued the land at RM25psf - inclusive of compounded interest - and this fact was withheld from the cabinet by the accused.
Ling pleaded not guilty to both charges and Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussin set bail at RM1 million.
Mention has been fixed for Sept 3.
As Ling needed time to post bail, he was released on personal bond for today and given time to post bail at the Sessions Court tomorrow.
He was represented by counsel RR Sethu. Ling appeared in court at 4.45pm, accompanied by his wife Ena and two sons.
PKFZ, a commercial and industrial project south of the capital, was conceived as a RM1.82 billion venture constructed over 1,000 acres.
However, costs are now expected to balloon to RM12.5 billion, making the affair one of the country's biggest financial scandals and a major embarrassment for the government.
Investigations into the project's financial records since then have revealed instances of corruption, cases of conflict of interest as well as breach of trust.
Last November, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had recommended in its report on the PKFZ controversy that former transport minister Chan Kong Choy and former Port Klang Authority (PKA) general manager OC Phang be probed for criminal breach of trust.
This was over the wrongful issuance of three letters of support by Chan and three letters of undertaking by Phang without Finance Ministry approval.
PAC said that it was informed by the attorney-general that the letters were implicitly a form of guarantee from the government to ensure that there would be allocations for PKA to enable it to meet its obligations under the development agreement.