Syed Zahar, Malaysian Digest
The Selangor administration yet again faces another accusation of corruption following MCA’s exposure of an alleged scandal involving the Pakatan Rakyat-ruled state. In the latest surprise attack on Pakatan, MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong (pic, right) dropped a bombshell over an alleged RM1 billion scandal involving the Selangor government, a public-listed company and abuse of public funds.
During a media conference this afternoon, Chua challenged the Selangor government to explain a RM1bil deal with debt-ridden Talam Corporation. He claimed that instead of recovering a RM392mil debt from Talam, the state instead bought an additional RM284mil worth of assets from the company.
"The Pakatan Rakyat government had also earlier given a RM392mil grant to Talam. It must now explain to the rakyat the acquisition of the RM676mil worth of assets and the usage of the RM392mil grant which resulted in the RM1bil questionable deal," he told a press conference this afternoon.
According to Kumpulan Hartanah Sdn Bhd (KHSB), Talam owed Unisel and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd a total of RM277mil and SAP Holding, a subsidiary of KHSB, RM115mil. He said the state government claimed that Talam had cleared its debts but KHSB had declared in its latest annual report that the company had yet to do so.
At the press conference, Chua, who is also deputy agricultural and agro-based minister, challenged Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to reveal all the transactions as Pakatan has claimed to champion good governance and transparency.
“Khalid has yet to fulfill his promise made two years ago to present a white paper on the state government's controversial debt recovery exercise involving Talam Corporation Bhd,” Chua said.
Chua said revealing these details should not be an issue as the state had passed the Freedom of Information Bill last year.
Support Letter Controversy
This is not BN’s first assault on the Selangor government. Two weeks ago, Khalid’s political secretary Faekah Husin was accused of abusing her power by reportedly issuing a letter of support to a company that applied for a state government contract. According to news reports, Fakeah had allegedly used a letterhead of the MB's office to support the law firm, where her nephew is said to have a stake.
Khalid had defended Fakeah, saying that it was not wrong for government officials to forward letters of support to any state GLC. He said, however, that it was wrong to recommend or instruct a GLC to make appointments.
The Battle for Selangor
The attack by MCA looks to be another counter-offensive move against the Selangor administration after the damage done by PKR’s exposure on the NFC scandal which had hit the family of Wanita Umno chief and former minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. And, last month, PKR chief strategist has launched yet another series of e exposés against BN.
Rafizi (above), who was also instrumental in the exposing the NFC scandal, alleged that there were elements of criminal breach of trust and abuse of power in the awarding of a RM960 million contract for the Ampang Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension project. He also claimed to have “solid, documentary proof” that the prime minister intervened in the awarding of the contract, and has lodged a police report against the PM.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is already investigating Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) over the multi-million ringgit deal.
Coincidentally, Rafizi held a press conference of his own two hours before Chua held his to give an update on the LRT project, claiming that it may balloon to RM100 billion, close to three times its initial estimate.
"I've been talking to people inside the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD)... they're now talking about the RM100 billion mark. The initial figure bandied was around RM37 billion and then it was RM50 to RM60 billion," he told a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya this morning.
When asked whether he had evidence to back the claim, Rafizi replied: I'd rather be a bad boy and “jump the gun when it comes to projects like this.”
Other BN leaders have come out to put pressure on Pakatan to provide explanation on the alleged wrongdoing in the Selangor administration. Prior to expose by Chua, it was reported that Selangor BN coordinator Zin Mohamed has asked Pakatan to explain why assets belonging to government-linked companies have shrunk. He also asked Pakatan to reveal the transaction records for government-linked companies such as KDEB (Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd).
Meanwhile, Gagasan Anti Penyelewengan Selangor (Gaps) president Hamizun Kamaruddin also claimed that he would be revealing details of corrupt transactions involving the state government from time to time. He claimed the alleged dubious deals included the transfers of PKNS assets to PKNS Holding to facilitate sales transactions and joint venture agreements. Hamizun also questioned the de-listing of Worldwide Holdings Bhd, a real estate company in which the state government had the majority stake, two years ago. He also called for thorough investigations into the sale of assets belonging to Yayasan Selangor, PKNS, Permodalan Negri Selangor Bhd and KDEB.
Rafizi’s New Rival?
Chua, like Rafizi, is an accountant and used to be a former chief financial officer of a government-linked company. And, like his PKR rival, he looks hell-bent on opening a can of worms on Pakatan as election nears.
Khalid had claimed no knowledge of the issue when queried by reporters yesterday and challenged Chua to provide evidence of the purported RM1 billion scandal.
Meanwhile, Chua, when pressed for details on what kind of assets is involved in the alleged scandal, said that he is waiting the Selangor government to answer that question.
So far, there have been no reports on Pakatan’s response on the latest allegations leveled against the Selangor government. What’s clear is that more revelations are expected to come out in the open as both BN and Pakatan dig up more dirt on each other. And it seems like both parties are stepping up their game big time in the battle for the richest state in the country as the deadline for the yet-to-be-called election draws near.