RM10mil loan: Tee Keat briefs grassroot leaders to clear the air

(The Sun Daily) – MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat today held a closed- door briefing at MCA headquarters for about 700 party division leaders, secretaries and treasurers, ostensibly to clear the air on an alleged RM10mil donation by Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

Met after the briefing session, Ong declined to reveal what exactly he had told them, saying that his message was strictly for party members only.

He however described the meeting as interactive as "the members had posed some good and sharp questions to the party leadership."

Asked if the members were convinced by his explanation, Ong said he would leave it to them to say if accepted his explanation or not.

He also disclosed that he has yet to be approached by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to facilitate investigations into the alleged donation.

He also declined to comment on Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's advice that both he and Tiong should "not wash their dirty linen in public".

The MCA president had last week denied an allegation that he had taken a RM10mil 'loan' from Tiong and lodged a police report for criminal defamation against Tiong, and demanded an apology from him, within a week.

It was reported on Sunday that the MACC had on Friday questioned Tiong  who is Bintulu MP and Barisan Nasional's Backbenchers Club chairman, for about six hours over the issue.

Tiong, confirmed to China Press that MACC officials questioned him on Friday but declined to give details.

 "MACC officials did come (to my office); they can come anytime," he said, adding that if the police or other enforcement agencies want to question or investigate him, he would give them his full cooperation.

Tiong had also been questioned by MACC earlier on Thursday, following the release of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) special task force's report on Monday that KDSB, as the project turnkey developer, had alleged caused irregularities of up to RM1 billion.

In response to Ong's query on Thursday, as to whether the RM10 million was "a loan, donation, or bribe?" Tiong was Saturday quoted by Sin Chew Daily as saying the money was "a donation" to MCA for the party's divisional activities.

He said a certain individual had asked him to help Ong and MCA as he had the political influence and network, and could help rejuvenate MCA.

"I'm a part of BN. If BN could keep East Malaysia but not West Malaysia, it would affect the entire BN, especially MCA. So I agreed to donate to MCA to fund its activities," he was quoted as saying.

Tiong, who did not reveal the identity of the go-between, said Ong had not asked him for a specific sum of donation and he came up with the RM10mil figure on his own.

He added that he never asked Ong how the money would be spent out of respect for the MCA president, adding that if he (Tiong) knew things would end up this way, he would have insisted on issuing cheques instead of giving cash.

Meanwhile, party secretary-general Datuk Wong Foon Meng yesterday said party members who attended the briefing, gave full support to Ong and pledged to defend him in facing the issue.

He said all questions regarding the PKFZ and donation, posed to the party leadership were answered clearly by the leaders.

"The burden of proof is on him (Tiong). He has to prove his allegations (that MCA leaders had accepted his donations) beyond any reasonable doubt," he said.

In a press conference later, party treasurer-general Tan Sri Tee Hock Seng said the party had not received any donation during his tenureship since November last year.

"The party is financially stable, so the allegation of RM10 million donation made by Tiong is baseless.

"Party leaders are not encouraged to accept donations in their own capacity and all donations to the party, must be made directly to the party," he said, adding that the party welcomed MACC to conduct an investigation and will give full cooperation to it.

Wong said however the party can accept donations as a form of income under Article 137 of the party constitution, adding that the clause does not specify the method or amount of donations.

Meanwhile, Tee said there was no need for Tiong to tell the whole world about donations he made for welfare purposes.

He explained that MCA usually plays the role of a middleman to help raise funds for charity bodies, and that such donations are given directly to the charities without going through the party.

He was commenting on Tiong's statement to a vernacular newspaper on Saturday that Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun had also received donations from him, after she criticised his allegation against Ong, as a means to divert attention from the PKFZ issue.

Chew has since also responded that the RM30,000 donation received two years ago from Tiong was for the construction of the Selangor and Federal Territory senior citizens welfare centre which cost RM3 million.