Cabinet decided to postpone acquiring Pulau Indah land for PKFZ, court hears

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet decided to postpone land purchase in Pulau Indah following objections from the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the High Court here was told yesterday.

Former Ministry of Transport deputy secretary-general (Planning) Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohd Noor, 61, said the postponement was made after MoF maintained its stand that the 1,000 acres of land for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) should be acquired by the government.

“The Cabinet decided to postpone the process of acquiring the Pulau Indah land during its Oct 2, 2002 meeting,” said Abdul Rahman, the fourth prosecution witness in former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik’s corruption trial.

During examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah, Abdul Rahman said the MoF prepared a note to the cabinet listing its rationale as to why the land should be acquired by the government.

“If I am not mistaken, the government had also obtained the Attorney-General’s views on the matter,” he added.

Earlier during the proceedings, Abdul Rahman told the court that Dr Ling had suggested through a letter dated April 3, 2002 to former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the land should be purchased outright from Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB).

Abdul Rahman said the letter also stated the purchase be considered with the condition that the government and KDSB review the price based on government evaluation.

Dr Ling had also suggested that the government give the infrastructure contract to KDSB and discuss the cost directly with the company, he added.

“If the suggestion was approved, the Transport Ministry and Port Klang Authority (PKA) would negotiate the deal.

“The deal would then be presented to the Treasury for approval before an offer was made to KDSB,” he said referring to the same letter.

Abdul Rahman said in a letter dated April 8, 2002, Dr Mahathir agreed to Dr Ling’s suggestion.

Dr Ling, 68, faces an amended principal charge of cheating the Malaysian government by concealing from the Cabinet the additional interest of 7.5 per cent a year on the purchase price of a land in Pulau Indah against the six per cent rate set by the Valuation and Property Services Department (VPSD).

He also faces two amended alternative charges of cheating the government by not revealing to the Cabinet the facts related to the additional interest rate, and cheating the Cabinet into believing that the facts related to the purchase of the land were certified and agreed to by VPSD when he knew there was no such consent.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002.

The hearing before judge Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi resumes today. — Bernama