State subsidiaries said they felt “obliged” to pay expenses incurred by the Wives of Selangor Elected Representatives’ Welfare Association (Balkis) to organise functions and admitted that Balkis was “special” compared with other non-governmental organisations.
The Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) was told at its first-ever hearing at the Dewan Annex here, yesterday, that many of the sponsorships were requested verbally by former Balkis chairman Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik.
The representatives of all three state subsidiaries who testified — Selangor Agriculture Development Corporation (PKPS) deputy general manager Mohamad Nordin Darhan, former Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) chairman Datuk Harun Salim and Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (KDEB) president Datuk Abdul Karim Munisar — said they paid the bills forwarded to them by Balkis.
“It looks like it was not a matter of sponsorship but the state subsidiaries becoming ‘tukang bayar’ (paymaster) for Balkis,” said Selcat chairman Teng Chang Khim at the hearing.
KDEB forked out almost RM700,000 to sponsor Balkis functions from 2002 to 2005.
This included RM17,000 for flight tickets for seven to Guangzhou where the Balkis entourage headed by Zaharah spent RM206,574.89, also paid by KDEB, to buy souvenirs such as multi-coloured flowers and 2,700 pieces of caps at RM8 each.
Karim said it was “very difficult” to reject sponsorship applications from Balkis as it was very influential and KDEB belonged to the state government, where Zaharah’s husband, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was the menteri besar at the time.
PKNS and its subsidiaries spent about RM1 million until 2007 to sponsor Balkis events, a third of it on dinners alone. The corporation also sold two pieces of land below market price to Balkis.
Harun said PKNS never rejected any application from Balkis, which Teng described as “amazing”.
PKPS in 2006 paid about RM46,000 in tent rental and hampers for Balkis’ functions, 46 per cent of its yearly budget for sponsorship.
Also called to testify yesterday was State Secretary Datuk Ramli Mahmud.
Zaharah and Dr Khir who were scheduled to give their statements today may only be called tomorrow.
However, it is not known if they will attend as Dr Khir has labelled the Selcat hearing as not valid.
Teng said the validity should not be questioned as Barisan Nasional was represented by two assemblymen and both actively participated in the hearing yesterday.
Selangor state companies ‘obliged’ to pay more than RM 1 million of expenses incurred by Balkis