Yayasan Selangor spent ‘lavishly’

(The Star) – Poor financial practices were used in organising Yayasan Selangor’s activities in 2010, including its 40th anniversary celebrations, its general manager Ilham Marzuki said.

He told the Selangor state assembly’s Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) that Yayasan Selangor had learnt from the “sad experience” and had put in place measures to improve its management.

More than RM1.4mil was spent on various events in 2010, resulting in several quarters calling for an investigation into the state education foundation’s “lavishness”.

Ilham, who was appointed general manager in April 2010, spent most of the five hours justifying the events held and explaining the improvements put in place to prevent similar leakages from recurring.

The public hearing was chaired by state assembly speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim, who was flanked by Deputy Speaker Haniza Talha, Hulu Kelang state assemblyman Saari Sungib and Permatang state assemblyman Sulaiman Razak.

Most of the morning session focused on the tender process for event planners, with Ilham explaining that limited tenders were called for activities such as the 40th anniversary dinner, fishing competition, and buka puasa, Hari Raya and Hari Raya Haji functions.

He said Yayasan Selangor did not call for open tenders due to the lack of time to plan the events and, on each occasion, practised a limited tender system by picking a company from three quotations.

Selcat also grilled Ilham over the release of the bulk of the fees to the companies early, which the latter admitted was “not a good practice”.

In the case of the anniversary dinner, 95% or RM270,750 was paid to the event planner before the event. The dinner was called off three days before it was due as the Sultan could not attend.

Sulaiman also ticked Ilham off for paying the fishing competition organiser 99.5% of the bill before the event.

“Usually it is 30% payment before the job is done,” said Sulaiman, the lone Umno Selcat representative present yesterday.

Yayasan Selangor’s practice of giving out meeting allowances to staff sitting in the quotation and tender management committees was also questioned, as each person was given between RM50 and RM500 per meeting.

“They are Yayasan officers and staff, so what is the rationale of giving them meeting allowances? Isn’t this in their job scope?” asked Teng.

Ilham said the allowances were given because the meetings took place during lunch breaks or after working hours.

“Nevertheless, we have recovered the money and returned it into Yayasan’s accounts,” he said.

Ilham also alleged that Yayasan suffered more than RM500mil of leakages between 1991 and 2008, and was told by Teng to hire an independent auditor to substantiate the allegations.