Balkis accounts not audited for eight years

By Neville Spykerman (The Malaysian Insider)

Like peeling the layers of an onion, the Special Select Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) is slowly unravelling the extent of the Wives of Selangor Elected Representatives Welfare Organization's (Balkis) maladministration.

The public inquiry into the charity, which received millions of ringgit from state subsidiaries, today learnt that Balkis had not submitted audited accounts to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) since 2001.

State ROS deputy registrar Yunos Jamil, who continued his testimony today, described the discrepancy as an "oversight."

He told the committee no action was taken against the charity and no action would be taken now because Balkis has been dissolved.

Selcat chairman Teng Chang Khim said he was shocked at the ROS's failure
to monitor the scandal-riddled charity.

However, Yunos said the state ROS had 13,000 societies under its care and did not have the resources to monitor all of them.

He said the main purpose of the ROS is to register the societies and monitoring them was among their other responsibilities.

This raised the ire of Teng who said Yunos's statement was like the police saying they could not fight crime because of lack of resources.

Yunos added the ROS received documents submitted by Balkis in "good faith" and any resolution passed by members were accepted without question.

He also refused to hand over a copy of the notice by Balkis notifying members of an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) on March 11, 2008 which was called to dissolve the charity.

Under Balkis's own constitution, 14 days notice and the reasons of the EGM must be given to members before an EGM can be held and Selcat is attempting to determine if this requirement was followed.

Yunos said he had been advised by the legal advisor of the Home Ministry not to provide the document to Selcat.

However, Teng said under the Section 10 of the Societies Act, member of the public can inspect documents submitted to the ROS for lawful purposes.

Yunos has been given till Wednesday to produce the notice or summonses would be sent to the Registrar of Societies and the legal advisor of the Home Ministry to appear before Selcat.

During a press conference after the inquiry, Teng said Selcat cannot legally compel civil servants outside Selangor to appear before the public inquiry.

However, he said these officers should co-operate with the committee if they have nothing to hide.

Teng said the inquiry is being broadcast "live" over the internet and it was better for all concerned to come explain their decisions rather than face public scorn.

Earlier Balkis past president Puan Sri Rohani Asnan, the wife of former Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohammad Mohammad Taib, also testified before the inquiry.

Rohani, who was president between 1986 and 1997, was called to explain why she had written a letter, as president of Balkis, to allowed a staff employed by the State Islamic Affairs Council (Mais) to reside at Komplek Wawasan Balkis in April, last year.

The MAIS staff, Hafizutul Akmal, had just give birth at the time and had gone to see Rohani as she wanted to continue her confinement at the Balkis hostel.

Rohani said the letter was prepared by the supervisor of Komplek Wawasan Balkis and she had signed it to help Hafizutul.

She admitted that signing the letter was an oversight as she was not the president of Balkis at the time.

Meanwhile Rohani said she had voted to dissolve the charity because that was the decision of the majority of the members .

She was evasive as to why members chose to dissolve Balkis but admitted the EGM may have been called before the March 8 last year because Barisan Nasional had a feeling their husbands may lose the general elections.