Ong Kian Ming: Wee Kia Siong misled the public during the cabotage policy debate with Lim Guan Eng

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Fact check on cabotage debate: Wee misled us, says ex-deputy minister

FMT Reporters – November 5, 2021 11:56 AM

PETALING JAYA: Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming has listed five areas where transport minister Wee Ka Siong misled the public during the cabotage policy debate with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Firstly, Ong said many times during the debate, Wee wanted to create the impression that global submarine cable company and Japanese telecom giant NTT Ltd was the only owner of the proposed Apricot undersea submarine cable project that was bypassing Malaysia.

The former deputy international trade and industry minister said this was “grossly misleading” as there were a number of other shareholders in the project, including Google, Facebook, PLDT (Philippines largest telecommunications company), and Chunghwa Telecom (a Taiwanese telco).
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“Secondly, Yoshio Sato appeared twice in the debate as Wee claimed that Sato was instrumental in the Apricot cable project. The MCA president also included a slide labelling Sato as vice-president (VP) of NTT,” he said.

According to Ong, Sato was no longer an employee of NTT and that he left the company to set up his own Singapore-registered company called Orient Link Pte Ltd.

“While I do not doubt that Sato was working with NTT at the time that the Apricot undersea cable system was being planned, the Orient Link website states that he was only a manager at NTT and not a vice-president of NTT, as reported in the press.

“It was disingenuous of Wee to try to portray Sato as someone senior in the NTT leadership while he was not. Even if he was VP of NTT before leaving the company, it would not be accurate to portray his position as being part of the senior leadership of the company,” he added.

Thirdly, Ong said the Orient Link website described the company as a strategic joint venture led by NTT Group and Wen Capital Pte Ltd, with the director of Wen Capital being Lim Soon Foo, who is also the executive chairman of OMS Group.

“The OMS group is the only company in Malaysia which claimed to have undersea cable submarine repair capabilities and the only beneficiary of the cabotage policy which Wee reinstated when he became transport minister.

“The fact that Lim Soon Foo is both a director of Wen Capital, which is also a shareholder of Orient Link and the executive chairman of OMS Group shows that there is a clear conflict of interest on the part of Sato,” he said.

In highlighting the fourth fact check on Wee’s remarks, Ong said that it was the “trump card” which the minister left for the end of the debate on the “Intra-Asia Express Cable Project” for which Sato is currently consulting.

He said it should not be considered as an official NTT project as Sato was not working for the company any longer.

“Lastly, Wee also claims that OMS Group had recently purchased a ship by the name of Lodbrog which has Dynamic Positioning 2 (DP2) undersea cable repairs capabilities.

“However, the technical specifications from the OMS Group website seem to tell a different story,” he said.

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