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Saturday, April 30, 2011

PKFZ scandal: Ling’s trial likely to be postponed

The Cabinet has still not declassified some documents relating to the Port Klang Free Zone project.

KUALA LUMPUR: The much expected trial of former transport minsiter Dr Ling Liong Sik on May 3 will likely be postponed since the Cabinet has still not declassified documents pertaining to multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

A source close to the defence team told FMT that the prosecution team headed by Tun Majid Tun Hamzah is expected to make an application before the High Court judge Ahmadi Asnawi that the case be adjourned to another date.

“We have been informed by the prosecution that they are unable to supply us with all the documents on time as assured by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail on Dec 8, 2010 since some of the documents have still not been declassified,” the source said.

He said so far the defence team only received part of more than 200 documents promised by Gani as required under Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

“We need these documents to prepare our defence, as well taking further instruction from our client,” he added.

Meanwhile, the prosecution is expected to call at least 20 witnesses including former pime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamd.

On July 29 last year, Ling, 68, was charged with deceiving the Cabinet to approve a land purchase in Pulau Indah for the purpose of the Mega Distribution Hub project in Port Klang, according to the terms agreed between the tunrnkey contractor of PKFZ, Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, and Port Klang Authority (PKA).

Ling was accused of committing the crime with the knowledge that he could cause a loss to the government, which he was bound by law to protect.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Prime Minister’s Office here between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002.

Ling pleaded not guilty to the first charge of cheating under Section 418 of the Penal Code and an alternative charge under Section 417 for an alleged offence committed at the same time and place.

If found guilty, he could be sentenced up to seven years in jail for the first charge and up to five years’ imprisonment under the alternative charge.

He could also be fined if convicted.

On Feb 28 this year, another former transport minister Chan Kong Choy was charged with three counts of cheating over the same PKFZ scandal.

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