When Association of Wives of State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament in Selangor (Balkis) was formed, those involved never imagine that the government of Selangor would fell into opposition hand.
Based on their constitutions, the president of Balkis must be the wife of the Menteri Besar. And that Balkis's fund can only be transferred by the president. Zaharah Kechik, the wife of former Menteri Besar (Mohamad Khir Toyo) thus is no longer the president of Balkis as the new Menteri Besar of Selangor is Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
The post new president of Balkis therefore should be given to wife of Abdul Khalid, i.e. Salbiah Tunut.
This means it is illegal and a crime for Zaharah to dissolve Balkis when she is not the rightful president and Balkis together with it's fund must be handed over to the government of the day. Zaharah (and the UMNO ladies) are trying to be cunning and fortunately Balkis constitution has a provision to thwart their moves.
The people behind Balkis is still have an old mindset that Balkis belong to UMNO (or belong to the Menteri Besar) when Balkis is suppose to be a welfare organisation and is to be apolitical. Balkis belong to the government (of the day regardless it's from PKR or Barisan Nasional) and the rakyat.
Investigation must be made to expose these fraud and bring those irresponsibles to justice.
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RM10m gone in 3 days
R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez
PETALING JAYA (April 24, 2008): Three days after their husbands lost power to rule Selangor, the wives got into the act – plotting to dissolve a welfare body and remove almost RM10 million from its bank accounts.
But their attempts have been thwarted by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim who wrote to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to question the validity of the decision to dissolve the Association of Wives of State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament in Selangor (Balkis).
It is learnt that Abdul Khalid has ordered a thorough investigation and audit into the affairs of the association which was set up in 1985 to undertake welfare work.
According to documents sighted by theSun, Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik, the wife of former mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo had on March 11 convened an extraordinary general meeting of the committee to dissolve Balkis and close its bank accounts. The following day, the accounts were closed, with the money transferred to another account and then to Bakti – the federal Organisation of Wives of Ministers which Balkis is affiliated to.
On March 13, the former exco members of Balkis issued a notice of dissolution to the ROS, which included amending the constitution of Balkis and establishing a new organisation – Balkis-BN, is among the names suggested.
“This was to prevent the Balkis premises (Kompleks Wawasan Balksi - KWB) and the association itself from being taken over by the new state government,” said an insider.
“Once this was done, then the money will be transferred back to the new organisation,” the insider added.
However, the ROS in a letter stated that Balkis' application for dissolution was incomplete and gave it 30 days to furnish additional information.
The constitution of Balkis states that the mentri besar's wife should be the president. Sources in the state government argue that since Mohamad Khir is no longer MB, Zaharah is no longer the president and has no power whatsoever to dissolve the association or liquidate its funds. Incidentally, the constitution also states that the organisation must remain apolitical.
Legal experts say by right, following the events of March 8, the exco headed by Zaharah should have convened an emergency meeting to discuss the handing over of Balkis to a new exco – with the new president being Abdul Khalid’s wife Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut.
Bakti, meanwhile, according to minutes of a recent meeting it held, had under advice of a sitting judge received the RM9.9 million from Balkis, which it has placed in a fixed deposit. The money would then be transferred back to the new organisation set up by the former Balkis members.
Bakti would also take over a Special Education Project involving millions of ringgit until the “new” Balkis is formed.
This is clearly goes against Balkis’ constitution which states that in the event of a dissolution, all monies must be transferred to the government or a similar fund, with the approval of the Inland Revenue Board director-general.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Abdul Khalid had in his letter to the ROS on Wednesday (April 23) said of the amount in Balkis’ accounts, about RM850,000 was donated by state government companies – Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd which gave RM268,862 last year and Perbadanan Kemajuan Negri Selangor (PKNS) which contributed RM590,379.50 between 2006 and 2007.
It is understood that Abdul Khalid is also investigating the transfer of 43,560sq ft of land in Section 7, Shah Alam, which the state government had in 2002 offered to Balkis at a nominal cost of RM250,000 (RM5.74/sq ft) for the setting up of a shelter home for women that cost RM5 million.
It’s ‘our’ money, not yours
TWENTY-EIGHT days before Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo was unseated as Selangor mentri besar, he asserted that the Selangor Economic Development Corporation (PKNS) was a private company and that its money and assets do not belong to the people.
At a pow-wow over lunch with this writer and his colleagues, he charged: “You wrote that the fine paid by PKNS was people’s money. No, PKNS is a private company.” (For the record, PKNS was imposed fines totalling RM330,000 for illegal clearing of land around the Bukit Cahaya Agricultural Park and at all material times, Mohd Khir was its chairman.)
Then he made a remarkable statement: “The fine goes back to the state coffin! (I’m sure he meant “coffers” but those at the lunch looked stunned when he used the word a second time). The money comes back to us.” Not wanting to argue with someone who has little knowledge of where the fines imposed by a court of justice end up and not wanting to give him a free lesson in financial procedures, I reserved my comments.
Today, PKNS is in the news again. Here’s a summary of what it paid out to Balkis, the organisation of wives of state assemblymen and MPs in Selangor.
• RM218,719 for the opening ceremony of Komplex Wawasan Balkis;
• RM200,000 for the Balkis dinner;
• RM10,000 for a table at the same dinner; and
• RM161,660 for programmes organised by Balkis.
If you thought that people’s money – not a private company’s money as Mohamad Khir sees it – was being handed out like candy, PKNS also sold 43,560 sq ft of land in Section 7 in Shah Alam at RM5.74 per sq ft – a bargain whichever way you look at it.
But no money changed hands. A contra deal for amount payable – RM250,000 – was made. The amount was off-set as a loan from PKNS to the state government and this was duly endorsed at the meeting of the State Financial Committee on Oct 19, 2000. Has this loan been settled?
And the deal was between PKNS and the state government. How did Balkis come into the picture?
Balkis for all intent and purposes was an organisation that received funds and other forms of financial help from the state government. The mentri besar’s wife occupies the seat of the president and the members of the committee are elected among the wives.
Just like Mohamad Khir deemed PKNS a private entity, his wife Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik saw Balkis as a “sendirian berhad”. How else could she call for a meeting and dissolve the organisation and transfer funds running into millions?
Doesn’t the constitution say that the president should be the mentri besar’s wife? As of March 9, her hubby was no longer the mentri besar and therefore, she automatically relinquishes her post. But no, giving up power and influence does not come easy.
Leaving that issue aside, where else did our money, (oops! PKNS money as Mohamad Khir sees it) end up? Special number plates for its officers, for one. Should the people pay for their employees to drive around in cars with fancy number plates? It can be argued that this exercise involved a few thousand ringgit, but it’s the principle that matters.
On a larger scale, PKNS built what was termed as a public golf course, which has since been privatised. Since it was built with people’s money running into millions, why should the rakyat pay commercial rates at the Seri Selangor Golf Club? Were open tenders called for the privatisation deal or was it handed on a platter to some uncle or brother-in-law’s sister’s son?
What about the joint-venture deals and other questionable agreements which could have committed us? Shouldn’t we, the rakyat be entitled to know? Or should we remain silent with folded arms as those who raped and plundered the state coffers get away scot-free?
That is why there is a dire need for accountability and transparency in all matters involving public money. Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has done the right thing by ordering an audit of Balkis, but what about the state-owned companies and agencies, who are flaunting our money as if it is theirs?
The goings-on within Balkis are just the small fish that’s visible on the surface in shallow waters. Deep down, there are even bigger ones who have used our money without having to account for it and even stolen our money. Shouldn’t these thieves be brought to book? Shouldn’t we file civil suits to recover what rightfully belongs to us?
Abdul Khalid, on taking office, promised reports every quarter or 100 days. The clock is ticking, and by the end of next month, can we expect that report and see a few heads roll?