Friday, June 19, 2009

Ong clarifies variation order - Star

June 19, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said that the RM1.2bil variation order for the Port Klang Free Zone project was approved by the Port Klang Authority board last year.

Ong said he received numerous queries on whether he had applied to the former prime minister to approve the variation order and that copies of official letters were also circulated on the Internet.

“The board had written to me, asking me to write to the then prime minister who was also the finance minister to apply for the additional funding,” he clarified in his blog posted yesterday.

“The authority was also at risk of defaulting payment as the deadline to meet its financial obligations was approaching,” Ong said, adding that he was merely relaying the decision of the board to the then PM.

He said he had just started his ministerial job less than two months ago at that time, and that the decision was made by the port authority before his tenure.

Ong also pointed out that PricewaterhouseCoopers had not even started its Position Review work.

“As the person who directed port authority to commission an independent report by a reputable international accounting firm, and asked for the findings to be made public, I have nothing to hide,” he said.

“If I did, I would not have commissioned the Position Review. From day one, I have requested nothing less than an impeccable level of transparency and accountability in tackling this issue and I mean what I say,” Ong stressed.

He said it was unfortunate that there were quarters who were uncomfortable with the matter and chose to spin “unfounded lies” about him.

“Many of them hide behind online anonymity to tarnish and discredit me, and even leak out official letters,” he said.

Ong added that it was deplorable that his representation in conveying the board’s decision could be spun by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang as pressuring the Prime Minister.

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