KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik today told the court that he had no right to object to Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB)’s application to develop land in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), saying that all contracts came under the purview of the Finance Ministry (MoF) which was then headed by Tun Daim Zainuddin.
Today was Dr Ling’s fourth day in the witness stand and his first day of cross-examination by the prosecution.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Tun Majid Tun Hamzah asked if Dr Ling had objected to the contract for KDSB, the same company which had owned the PKFZ land, which is at the trial’s centre of contention.
The former MCA president is facing the possibility of a seven-year jail term, or fine, or both, for allegedly deceiving the Cabinet into approving the purchase of 999.5 acres of land from KDSB for the PKFZ project, which had resulted in wrongful losses for the government.
He also faces two alternative charges of deceiving the Cabinet into believing that the terms of purchase — at RM25 psf plus 7.5 per cent interest — were acknowledged and agreed to by the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) despite knowing that there was no such agreement in place.
“I don’t have the right to object...because the final decision comes from Tun Daim’s Treasury,” replied Dr Ling, who served as transport minister for 17 years until 2003.
“I’m saying now and I knew it then because the rule of the old government, contracts are given out by the contract division of the Treasury”.
Daim was then the First Finance Minister.
Tun Majid also quizzed Dr Ling over a letter from KDSB’s chief executive officer Datuk Tiong King Sing that was addressed to him, dated October 30, 2000.
In the letter, KDSB had applied to be a “turnkey developer” of a “trans-shipment megahub” in PKFZ, and there was a handwritten note signed by Dr Ling, stating that “I have no objection.”
“It was KDSB who applied? You said you have no objection?” asked Tun Majid.
“No objection to what? He (Tiong) told me he had applied to Tun Daim and in my mind, he was the correct authority... I have no objection to him applying to Tun Daim.”
Tun Majid also said later: “You proposed that KDSB receive this contract.”
“I put it to you that it was not Tun Daim or MoF who proposed this. It was an application by KDSB and supported by you and pushed to MoF,” added the lawyer.
“I disagree,” said Dr Ling.
On Monday, Dr Ling had told his counsel Wong Kian Kheong during examination-in-chief that he did not receive any gratification from KDSB in exchange for the land purchase, nor had he “bent over backwards” for the company.
The trial before Justice Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi resumes on September 28.