Wednesday September 26, 2012
‘Senior officer drafted letter’, Ling tells court
By M. MAGESWARI
KUALA LUMPUR: A senior officer drafted a letter to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but it contained “false content” regarding the acquisition of land for the Port Klang Free Zone project, former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik told his cheating trial.
Dr Ling said the ministry’s former deputy secretary-general (planning) Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohd Noor drafted the letter and he (Dr Ling) signed off on the letter because he trusted Rahman.
Questioned by lead prosecutor DPP Datuk Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah yesterday over the content of the letter dated June 29, 2002, Dr Ling said: “(The contents) were false and are false.”
When asked why he did not check the accuracy of the letter to the then prime minister, Dr Ling replied: “You have to trust your officers. If you don’t trust (them), you will have to do everything. You get memorandum every day and you cannot get anything started or finished.
“If I had known (that the letter contained false content), I would not have sent the letter or would have corrected it. They (the officers) reported to me that all is beautiful.”
Dr Ling is accused of deceiving the Government by not revealing to the Cabinet an additional interest rate of 7.5% annually in the RM1.088bil (at RM25psf) purchase of the land for the project at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Sept 25, 2002 and Nov 6 the same year.
He also claimed trial to two alternative charges of cheating, which carries a lesser penalty.
Dr Ling repeatedly told the court that all aspects of financing were left to the Finance Ministry, the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) and the Economic Planning Unit as they are the right parties to value, decide on the price and the method of financing.
“I have always instructed my officials that whichever method is used, always follow JPPH valuation and I expected them to follow my instructions,” said Dr Ling.
When questioned by Tun Majid on the letter of support dated May 28, 2003, Dr Ling said he only signed the letter after his secretary-general, Datuk Zaharah Shaari, and legal officer Salwani Abdullah had vetted and approved it .
He said: “They told me that this is as far as you can sign. Anything more would be infringing on the Treasury’s territory.”
The hearing continues today.