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Monday, February 28, 2011

Chan the 2nd MCA scapegoat for the Umno elite in PKFZ


UPDATE 2 In a move that Pakatan Rakyat leaders said was to deflect attention from the Umno elite, former Transport minister Chan Kong Choy was charged for cheating in the Port Klang Free Zone financial debacle.

Chan is the second MCA leader after former president Ling Liong Sik to be prosecuted for the financial scandal that PricewaterhouseCoopers has warned could balloon to RM12.5 billion if the government did not revamp its debt soon.

PKFZ is the BN government's most ambitious port devlopment project mooted during the rule of former premier Mahathir Mohamad. It took off in the early 2000s, with most of the project implemented and executed during the time of former premier Abdullah Badawi.

"Chan was charged for cheating Pak Lah. The intention is to absolve the Umno leaders and the former premiers from responsibility in the deal. At the very least, both Mahathir and Pak Lah must be called to testify," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

The court set bail at RM1million and March 31 for mention of the case.

Mahathir kept apprised

Chan was charged with three counts of cheating and deceiving Abdullah over the renovation works at the PKFZ site between 2004 and 2006. He faces up to five years’ jail on each count.

Ling, whose arrest in July last year shocked the nation, was also hauled up over irregularities with the shipping hub project. Ling was charged under Section 418 of the Penal Code for misleading the Cabinet in 2002, into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land in Pulau Indah for the PKFZ project at an inflated price.

The former MCA president has said Mahathir, who was then the Finance minister, had been kept apprised of all developments. He has said he may call Mahathir as a witness and Mahathir himself has said he would be willing to appear in court.

If convicted, Ling faces imprisonment of up to seven years.

More to come

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