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Thursday, July 29, 2010

MCA in shock over Dr Ling’s PKFZ charge


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.


MCA’s usually calm and collected president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek himself appeared shaken by the news and admitted that it was unexpected.

“MCA leaders are shocked by this,” he told reporters who surrounded him for a response after he opened the Perak MCA Youth convention at the state liaison body’s headquarters in Ipoh.

He added, however, that he was confident that Dr Ling, 66, who had served as the party’s president from 1986 to 2003, would be given a fair trial.

When contacted later in the evening, MCA secretary-general and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha fell silent for several moments when informed of the news.

When asked if he was surprised, Kong said: “Of course I am. Why do you only call me when there is bad news?”

He added that he was “concerned” about Dr Ling’s prosecution, especially since the latter was a prominent figure in the MCA.

Dr Ling was slapped with charges under Section 418 and alternatively, under Section 417 of the Penal Code, for an offence concerning land valuation.

Section 418 concerns “cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may be thereby caused to a person whose interest the offender is bound to protect” and Section 417 concerns the punishment for cheating.

If convicted under Section 418, Dr Ling faces a maximum jail term of seven years, or a fine, or both, and if convicted under Section 417, he faces a lesser sentence of five years jail, or fine or both.

He claimed trial to the charges and the case has been fixed for mention on September 3.

Dr Ling, believed to be the first Tun in the country to face such prosecution, is the most influential personality to date to be brought to book over the controversial PKFZ scandal.

When contacted, many MCA leaders chose to keep mum over the issue, pleading for more time to study the charges before issuing any comment.

MCA vice-president Datuk Donald Lim told The Malaysian Insider that the matter should only be addressed by the president.

“I would rather not comment. I just heard about it too,” he said.

A fellow vice-president Gan Ping Sieu also declined comment but chose instead to seek information from The Malaysian Insider over the details of the charges against Dr Ling.

“What did they involve? What were the specific charges,” he asked, before saying that he would need more time before speaking on it.

Another vice-president Datuk Chor Chee Heung told The Malaysian Insider that careless comments on such a shocking piece of news should not be made.

“I barely just heard about it myself. I do not know the details, so it would be unfair to make any comment for now. It is a big issue,” he pointed out.

Other MCA leaders could not be reached via the telephone.

On micro-blogging site Twitter, MCA Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong, who is usually active, was uncharacteristically quiet. His last post was at about 4pm, on an unrelated matter.

MCA presidential council member Chua Tee Yong tweeted that the PKFZ case needed transparency if the government wanted to revive the people’s trust in them.

“Give a chance 2 clear d air instd of guessg and hypthosg,” he said in his tweet.

The PKFZ project, Malaysia’s biggest port investment, was initially kickstarted in the early 2000 with a budget of RM1.8 billion.

The amount ballooned, however, allegedly due to mismanagement and corruption, and is estimated to likely cost a whopping RM12.5 billion now, including interest charges.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider


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