Selangor MB: Pending probe, no decision on Azmin’s status in PKNS

Khalid Ibrahim

(MM) – PKR deputy president Azmin Ali’s status in the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) remains suspended until an ongoing probe is completed, the state’s Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said today.

Amid continued confusion on Azmin’s reported sacking from the PKNS board in early January this year, Khalid said he did not know when the internal probe would end, pointing out that he could not interfere or demand for it to be sped up.

In the statement issued by Khalid’s office recapping his testimony to the Selangor Select Committee of Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat), the state leader said the probe was on documents issued without the knowledge of PKNS’s chairman and board members.

The investigation would also look into Selangor state secretary Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi’s purported letter which allegedly ordered PKNS to retract the termination of Azmin’s service, Khalid said.

“All these aspects are taken into account in the carrying out of an internal probe. That is why the termination of Azmin’s contract is still tergantung (in suspension),” he was quoted as telling the Selangor government’s public inquiry today into PKNS.

On February 14, Khusrin said the internal probe which he leads is expected to be done by early this month, with the findings on Azmin’s sacking to be announced to the public.

Later this afternoon in the Selcat hearing, Azmin insisted that he had been sacked from the PKNS board and produced documents he said would back his view.

When commenting on the termination of 20 staff from PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd (PHSB), Khalid said they were hired directly by the PKNS with the general manager wielding full power.

PHSB is wholly owned by PKNS.

Khalid added that his consent as PKNS chairman was not required in the hiring of the 20 staff members, whom he said were sacked to cut down costs.

The decision to terminate their service was made by newly-appointed PKNS general manager Haji Azlan Alfiah following an internal audit which showed the contracts were causing high operational costs, Khalid said.

Last month, Khalid said the mass culling was part of a restructuring exercise that would save PKNS almost RM7 million annually.

In the Selcat hearing today, several of the sacked PKNS staff testified as witnesses, expressing unhappiness at the abrupt sacking which allegedly left them little time to find a new job.

One of the PKNS staff member also pointed out that they had signed the contracts in “good faith” but believed their sacking was not done in good faith.

In the contradicting claims revolving around Azmin’s removal, PKNS had issued a letter on January 8 this year stating that his tenure on the board of directors will not be renewed, citing a decision by the state executive councillors.

Khalid had previously denied it was the state government’s decision and put the blame on then PKNS general manager Datuk Othman Omar.

He said Othman had acted beyond his authority as only the state exco have the right to terminate a person’s term on the PKNS board, with the requirement for such letters of termination to be signed by the MB or the state secretary in his role both as the PKNS deputy chairman and exco member.

Othman and PKNS executive secretary Norita Mohd Sidek were suspended on January 20 over the letter.