Teng: Reps siphoned money even after dissolution

(The Star) SHAH ALAM: Cheques for former Barisan Nasional assemblymen’s constituency allocations were issued even after they had lost control of the state government, the Selangor Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) has claimed.

Selangor speaker Teng Chang Kim, who heads the five-member panel, said the former assemblymen applied for the allocations amounting to hundreds of thousands of ringgit each just a day before the dissolution of the state assembly.

Some of the former assemblymen even applied for funds on the day the state assembly was dissolved on Feb 13 last year, he told reporters after the first day of the Selcat public hearing on the 2008 and 2009 constituency allocations at the state secretariat building here Tuesday.

Among the discrepancies highlighted were the unusually high number of applications for funds on the same day and issuance of many cheques on a single day.

“Some of the applications were even submitted days before polling day.

“Siphoning off such large sums of money during the campaign period last year under the pretext of holding mesra rakyat (people-friendly) programmes suggests possible abuse of funds for campaigning.

“It is morally wrong to use constituency funds for such campaigns,” he said.

Klang district officer Bakhtiar Hussin and Gombak district officer Huzaini Samsi were summoned to the hearing yesterday to give details on the application, processing and disbursement procedures.

They were grilled for discrepancies in disbursement of allocations for Bukit Gasing, Kinrara, Taman Medan, Batu Tiga, Subang Jaya, Seri Setia, Seri Serdang, Seri Kembangan, Bukit Lanjan, Kampung Tunku, Damansara Utama, Batu Caves, Gombak Setia, Hulu Kelang, Kuang, Taman Templer and Rawang constituencies last year.

“We will call all the nine district officers as witnesses,” Teng said.

Two Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen and the state finance officer who were also summoned by Selcat would be giving their statements during the five-day hearing that ends on Monday.

Teng advised district offices to file notices of demand to recover pro-rated annual administrative funds disbursed to former assemblymen.

“Former assemblymen only served for less than two months, but they took the entire year’s allocation for administrative funds,” he said.