A Selangor Government subsidiary spent about RM1.7 million for the former Selangor menteri besar’s trip to Disneyland Paris and Disney World in Florida. Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo went on the visits with his wife, three children, and other officials. His maid is also believed to have followed them on the trips.
This was revealed on the final day of the Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency hearing into the financial affairs of Selangor Elected Representatives Wives Welfare Association (Balkis).
Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd chief executive officer Datin Khairiyah Abu Hassan said RM420,000 was spent on a “technical visit” to Morocco and Disneyland Paris from Dec 17 to 24, 2004.
Dr Khir, the former PNSB chairman, also spent four days in transit in Dubai which cost the firm another RM10,000 for his accommodation.
Khairiyah said PNSB also paid RM366,000 for an advance team trip which surveyed the places before Dr Khir’s delegation went to Morocco and Disneyland Paris.
Khairiyah, who looked resigned by the questioning by Selcat chairman Teng Chang Khim, said the Morocco trip was to learn about architecture and Islamic building design and Moorish art.
She said the Disneyland visit was to gain technical knowledge to develop a similar theme park in Bagan Lalang, Sepang.
For the 10-day “technical trip” to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and a visit to Honolulu, PNSB spent almost RM750,000 including US$30,000 (RM110,000 at that time) in cash for transportation and meals. Of the total, RM110,000 was for Dr Khir’s presidential suite.
Khairiyah said the group did not meet with the Disneyland management team during both visits, but bought tickets and hired a tour guide.
“You cannot gain technical knowledge from a tourist guide. Both look more like leisure trips as the dates were in December,” Teng said.
Dr Khir also went on a working visit to Jakarta and Jogjakarta from April 20 to 24, 2003, costing PNSB RM38,000, including for first class tickets for Dr Khir, Zaharah and their daughter, an economy class ticket for their maid and three nights accommodation in a presidential suite.
PNSB forked out almost RM9,000 for the maid alone.
Khairiyah said the trip was to learn about the batik industry as PNSB had been appointed to lead Selangor’s batik industry. Dr Khir travelled in a hired Mercedes Benz limousine costing RM2,900 daily.
PNSB also paid RM1,200 for traditional dancers during the welcoming ceremony. “So we welcomed ourselves?” Teng asked.
Meanwhile, Teng said Dr Khir and his wife Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik have lost the chance to explain to the public what actually happened in a state agency and Balkis by not turning up for the Selcat hearing.
Selcat, he said, will hold a meeting to discuss the testimonies and scrutinise all documents submitted during the hearing. “Then we will prepare a report to be tabled before the next sitting of the assembly in July,” he said.
Commenting on state Registrar of Societies (ROS) deputy registrar Mohd Yunus Jamil’s failure to submit a copy of the notice for a meeting to dissolve Balkis, Teng said ROS should be more cooperative.
“Since they refused to produce the documents for which any member of the public is entitled to, we have no option but to invoke Section 114 of the Evidence Act 1950 which is adverse presumption against ROS.
Section 114 states that it is presumed that facts or documents are unfavourable to the person who holds it when it needs to be produced but was not.
“In this case, the notice for a meeting to dissolve Balkis was alleged to have been sent and filed with ROS,” he said. “The fact that they refused to produce it when they could be produced means that the documents may be unfavourable to them,” he said.
Khir Toyo travelled with family and maid, on Selangor’s RM 1.7 million (expenses include RM110,000 for presidential suites, first class flights, RM2,900 a day Mercedes Benz)