(The Star) - Former PKR secretary-general Datuk Sallehuddin Hashim appears to be vindicated in the controversy involving Talam Corporation Bhd and the Selangor Government.
Three years after his warnings went unheeded, the issue has exploded again following MCA's recent claim of questionable deals worth over RM1bil.
Sallehuddin, who first stirred the hornet's nest in November 2009, had wanted the PKR political bureau to question Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim over the Talam debt buyover controversy.
He said he stormed out of the party because PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had refused to discuss the matter at a political bureau meeting but instead told the media that they agreed with Khalid after discussing the issue.
“I left on the principle that a reformist government should not be afraid of self-review and discretionary powers of the Mentri Besar should be reduced by checks and balance,” he said.
Refusing to be drawn into MCA's claim, Sallehuddin said he had quit out of protest, stressing that the party did not live up to its reformist agenda.
Sallehuddin said he was upset because Pakatan Rakyat's elected representatives in Selangor were not aware of the debt reduction exercise as the initial Talam debt was believed to be over RM600mil.
He had also pointed out that the “round-tripping” exercise in the process was rather fishy but the party was not allowed to query.
“A good reformist government must not only govern fairly but be seen to be governing well,” he said.
On July 3, MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong had challenged the Selangor Government to explain how its exercise to recover RM392mil debt from Talam ended in questionable deals worth over RM1bil.
The state government is said to have acquired land worth RM392mil and acquired additional assets for RM284mil from Talam Corporation bringing the total acquisition to RM676mil.
This RM676mil purchase of assets is part of the RM1bil questionable deal.
He had also questioned why the three state entities to which Talam owed money had yet to receive payment despite the Selangor Government allocating a RM392mil grant and acquiring Talam's assets worth RM676mil.
The Star reported on Nov 18, 2009, that Sallehuddin had sent strongly-worded e-mail messages to PKR elected representatives in Selangor, prodding them to question Khalid's decision to buy over Talam's debt. He quit two months later.
He also slammed DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua for saying that Talam must be “saved” in order not to burden the rakyat.
“Projects that are abandoned because there are no takers are not the government's problem. Talam had unsold units because some were in unfavourable locations,” he said.