SHAH ALAM, March 24 — Paid trips to Cambodia and Indonesia, cash payments, a mass wedding for converts, and expensive gifts for VIPs, all in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), dominated day two of a public inquiry into the Wives of Selangor Elected Representatives Charity Organisation (Balkis).
Today, it was the turn of Permodalan Negri Selangor Berhad (PNSB) chief executive officer Datin Khairiyah Abu Hassan to be “grilled” by the Selangor Select Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat), over funds which was provided to Balkis since 2002.
Khairiyah, who was accompanied by four aides, disclosed that it was a common practice for the state subsidiary to adhere to all “request” for funds from Balkis, which amounted to between almost RM500,000 to RM1.6 million, annually.
Khairiyah told the committee headed by Selangor speaker Teng Chang Khim that as a state subsidiary it adopted a “compromising attitude” as they wanted to support the state in all projects which improved the
image of the administration.
Khairiyah, who was deputy CEO in 2002, disclosed that it was “usual practice” for Balkis officials to make verbal requests for project funds, and it was not unusual for the payments to be made in cash.
During the inquiry she said the “instructions” were sometimes made over the phone but she later retracted and used the term ‘request’ instead which prompted Teng to remind her that she was testifying under oath.
She admitted she had a close relationship with former Balkis president Datin Zahrah Kechik, who is the wife of former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khir Toyo,and added there was no committee to scrutinise the
“request” for funds or how the money was used.
Khairiyah said all requests were approved by the PNSB board collectively.
In 2002, PNSB funded a journey of repentance and self-realisation (Keinsafan) for Balkis members. A total of RM82,000 was paid and the money was used to food, accommodation and humanitarian projects as well as an allowance of RM3,000 for a reporter.
Khairiyah said RM38,000 was dispensed in cash and PNSB did not receive a receipt for the money.
In the same year, Balkis also received RM250,000 of which RM100,000 was in cash, to run a motivational camp for SPM students.
Khairiyah said she is not sure what the cash was used for and did not know who ran the course or why the money needed to be paid in cash.
In 2003, PNSB allocated RM1.65 million to Balkis of which RM148,280 was used to fund a mass wedding of 51 couples who were new converts at Dewan Belia and Sukan in Shah Alam.
Almost RM90,000 was spent on food for the estimated 1,500 guests at the wedding and Khairiah admitted there was no proper documentation on how the rest of the money was spent.
“It is negligence and carelessness on our part,” she admitted.
Khairiyah was at a loss to explained why huge amounts of cash was being dispensed to Balkis over the year and who received the money.
In 2004, PNSB paid RM3,600 for a “Summermen” suit for its then chairman Dr Mohd Khir Toyo as a souvenir for attending a Chinese New Year function, contrary to General Orders that gifts should not cost more than RM1,000 .
In the same year PNSB paid RM16,000 for Balkis members to go on a trip to Bukit Tinggi, Indonesia.
Meanwhile in 2006, PNSB paid RM50,000, in cash, for the opening of Complex Wawasan Balkis in Shah Alam, RM13,000 for food and a singer for a Buka Puasa dinner and RM25,000 for several tables at a
Balkis charity dinner.
In 2007, PNSB paid RM338,547.97 for the Balkis annual sports event of which RM33,000 was used to buy uniforms for participants.
Teng remarked that PNSB had functioned like a cashier to Balkis and added the Select Committee was concerned with the lack of corporate governance by the state subsidiary.
The inquiry continues tomorrow.
The newspaper headlines for the last few days have been busy exposing to the world how rampant “money politics” is in Umno.
Ali Rastam has been banned from contesting the number two seat and Khairy has been let off with a warning letter.
To everybody’s surprise, Khir Toyo has been declared “clean”. Such were the findings of the Disciplinary Committee of Umno. From the perspective of Selangor politics, Khir Toyo had to be found “clean” because without him, who is left to play the role of opposition leader in Selangor?
Bearing in mind that the charges presently leveled by Khir Toyo against TS Abdul Khalid are ones pertaining to corruption, it would be ridiculous if Khir was then himself found guilty of corruption!
And by his own party to boot! So they released him with a clean sheeet so that he may “respectably” portray himself, in the eyes of the uninformed, as a champion against corruption in Selangor!
Ignore please, the many years of corrupt governance under his leadership as these are yet to be given serious consideration by any court in the country.