Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Khalid alleges BN paid RM17.5m in questionable Mecca deal - Malaysian Insider

By Leslie Lau (Consultant Editor)

SHAH ALAM, Feb 25 — The Barisan Nasional state government made unauthorised investments for properties in Mecca, Saudi Arabia worth RM17.5 million in 2007, the Selangor menteri besar’s office has revealed.

The acquisitions were made through the state investment agency Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhad (PNSB) without the approval of the board of directors, according to a statement from the office of Pakatan Rakyat MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim released late last night.

The disclosure of the unauthorised acquisitions come a day after Khalid said two top officials from PNSB were ordered to go on a month’s paid leave to facilitate investigations into “irregularities and weaknesses” in the company’s financial accounts.

They are chief executive Datin Khairiyah Abu Hassan and finance manager Nora Azmin Radzuan, who is also Selangor Puteri Umno chief.

Khalid’s disclosure of alleged improprieties appear targeted at former BN MB Datuk Dr Khir Toyo, whose recent complaints of abuse of power against him have resulted in the current state leader facing charges from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

According to Khalid’s office, the PNSB board had in 2007 only approved the purchase of five properties in Al Marwa Tower, an apartment complex built by the BinLadin group near the Kaaba, for RM8.3 million.

However, PNSB eventually acquired a total of 12 properties for RM25.6 million.

In what was described as “puzzling” by the MB’s office, PNSB then almost immediately flipped seven of the properties to an individual for RM17.2 million. The individual was not named by Khalid’s office.

The MB’s office then noted that some time in 2008, PNSB prepared four cheques for RM8 million in the name of the same individual who had earlier paid the RM17.2 million for the seven properties in 2007.

“However, three of the four cheques prepared and signed by authorised signatories were then cancelled.

“The fourth cheque amounting to RM2 million was released and banked into the account of the individual. PNSB then arranged with the bank to stop payment,” the MB’s office said.

Khalid’s office said external advisors have now been appointed to assist in evaluating expenses of state agencies, including PNSB.

External auditors have also raised a red flag over the purchase of the Al Marwa Towers properties.

“The above actions are certainly puzzling. Why did PNSB pay more than RM25 million when the board only approved about RM8 million for five units?

“Why did it then accept about RM17 million said to be for the sale of the seven units? Why did it then attempt to re-purchase the units it had sold off?” the statement said.

The MB’s office said Khalid intends to take strong action should any criminal act be involved.

S’gor Sultan leaves it to MB to decide on Elizabeth Wong - Star

Feb 25, 2009


SHAH ALAM: Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor is above politics and will leave it to Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to decide the fate of his exco member Elizabeth Wong, who is now abroad, over a photo scandal.

The Sultan’s private secretary Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani said the Sultan believed that whatever decision Khalid was going make, it would be done accurately, fairly and with wisdom.

He added that the decision would take into consideration the interest of the people of the state.

He said this in a statement released after Khalid had an audience with the Sultan at Istana Mestika at 8.23am Tuesday.

He said Sultan Sharafuddin was concerned of late over cases of privacy rights intrusions being used to destroy a person’s dignity and reputation.

The Sultan also felt sad that a person’s private was being made through the use of the mass media and that he hoped that Wong would remain calm and be patient and continue with her life.

Wong tendered her resignation as exco member and PKR's Bukit Lanjan assemblyman recently, after some compromising photos of her were sent to the media.

The state and PKR have yet to accept her resignation and Khalid had said last week that the decision to accept or reject Wong’s resignation would be made only after an audience with the Sultan.

Currently, Wong is on leave overseas pending the decision.

The full press statement by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, over the controversy involving Bukit Lanjan state assemblyman Elizabeth Wong, issued by his private secretary, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani

“I am pleased to inform that Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Dato’ Abdul Khalid Bin Ibrahim, the Dato’ Mentri Besar Selangor has sought an audience with His Royal Highness, The Sultan of Selangor, on Wednesday, 25th February 2009 and duly informed His Royal Highness on the political development and the issue which involved Yang Berhormat Elizabeth Wong Keat Ping, the Selangor State Assemblyman for Bukit Lanjan who is also the State Selangor Exco Member.

His Royal Highness, The Sultan of Selangor, has commanded me to inform that His Royal Highness could not offer any guidance or advice to the Yang Berhormat Dato’ Menteri Besar of Selangor in the matter related to the issue of Yang Berhormat Elizabeth Wong Keat Ping as it was still under police investigation and it involved her political position. It is His Royal Highness’ stance as the Sultan of Selangor to be above politics.

His Royal Highness believes that whatever decision that is going to be made by the Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Mentri Besar of Selangor will made with accurateness, fair and with wisdom by taking into consideration the interest of the Rakyat in particular and the State of Selangor generally. His Royal Highness is upset and worried as of late the intrusion of someone’s privacy and private rights was being used to destroy one’s dignity and reputation. It is a sad thing as one’s life and private rights were being made public and subject to public scrutiny by publicising in the mass media.

To Yang Berhormat Elizabeth Wong, His Royal Highness felt sad and sympathised with her as to the unfortunate event she had suffered and hoped that Yang Berhormat Elizabeth Wong will remain calm and be patient in continuing with her life henceforth.”

Dato’ Haji Mohamad Munir bin Bani Dato’ Lela Bakti Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Sultan Of Selangor

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

INTIMATE PICTURES: Forensics cops visit Wong's house - Sun

By Charles Ramendran

PETALING JAYA (Feb 18, 2009): Forensics police today visited the Bukit Gasing home of Bukit Lanjan assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong as part of investigations into her report that intimate pictures of her sleeping had been circulated.

At about noon, a team from the federal police forensics department went to Wong's house where they were believed to positively ascertain the locations where the two photographs they have in their possession could have been taken.

The photographs were reportedly taken with a handphone at her home.

Wong had in her earlier statement refused to speculate on who took them, although some reports had linked them to her ex-boyfriend who is also a Parti Keadilan Rakyat member.

Selangor police chief DCP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said Petaling Jaya police will hand over the investigation to Kuala Lumpur police in a day or two as the assemblyman's house comes under the jurisdiction of Brickfields police.

On the progress of the probe, he said police are trying to trace Wong's ex-boyfriend to record his statement and are checking with the Immigration Department if he is still in the country or had left for overseas.

He also warned those who have the said photos to either hand them over to police or to destroy them.

"If we catch anyone distributing or having these photos in their possession, we will not hesitate to take stern action against them," he said.

Petaling Jaya police chief ACP Arjunaidi Mohamed said to date police have recorded a statement from Wong and four journalists from two English newspapers who first carried the story on the photos

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Elizabeth Wong offers to resign - Sun

PETALING JAYA ( Feb 17, 2009):

Elizabeth Wong, who has been thrust into controversy following the release of her nude photographs, has offered to resign as Selangor state executive councillor and Bukit Lanjan state assemblyman.

She told a news conference at the PKR headquarters today that she would discuss with Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim arrangements for the handover of her responsibilities.

Wong, 37, is the state executive councillor in charge of tourism, consumer affairs and environment.

In an emotionally-charged news conference and surrounded by about 30 supporters, Wong said the incident was an underhanded attempt by certain quarters to smear her reputation.

"My personal life and privacy have been violated. These people have conspired to undermine my credibility both as a Selangor state executive council member as well as a Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader," she said.

Wong, who was intermittently wiping her tears throughout the news conference, also maintained that she did not break any law.

"I have done nothing wrong. I wish to state that I am not ashamed of my sexuality as a woman and as a single person. I have broken no law," she said.

"I stand by the fundamental principle in a democracy that everyone has a right to privacy," she added.

Wong said that the decision to offer her resignation as the Selangor executive councillor and state assemblyman was made in the interest of the party.

"Although the smear campaign directed towards me has caused me a lot of anguish, I am aware that the real objective is to discredit Parti Keadilan Rakyat," she claimed.

Wong said she believed that the "attacks" to discredit the party would continue with greater intensity.

"Accordingly, I have decided to make a stand in the interest of the party and its struggle for the people," she said.

Wong lodged a police report at the Damansara police station on Sunday following the circulation of her nude photographs. -- BERNAMA

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vigilant in Selangor - Sun

Terence Fernandez

SHAH ALAM (Feb 13, 2009): Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is now vigilant in Selangor as it is learnt that Barisan Nasional (BN) is trying to get at least seven PR assemblymen to either cross over or quit their parties.

The case of "missing" Port Klang assemblyman, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)'s Badrul Hisham Abdullah, had sparked talk that BN agents are on overdrive to reclaim the state it lost in the general election – buoyed by their success in wresting Perak last week.

However, Badrul Hisham called a press conference yesterday to rubbish claims by Klang PKR information chief Aziz Johari that he had met with a Klang Umno division leader.

He said the rumour was spread by certain people to create confusion in the PR government in Selangor and he had met the party's top leadership to explain all issues that had cropped up about him.

Asked whether he had been offered to cross over, he said he had not received any offers and he had not thought of jumping to another party, Bernama reported.

On claims that he was "missing" lately and difficult to contact or hardly met constituents, Badrul said: "I am in my area."

On other claims that he did not receive state allocations and was involved in a "khalwat" case, he said: "No, I did not do it."

At the same time, it is learnt that BN, particularly MCA and Gerakan, is milking the discontent of State DAP leaders among themselves as well as with the national leadership and with senior State Assembly officials. At least one executive councillor is being courted.

Senior PR leaders claimed that apart from offers of money, one or two members were also being “blackmailed” with corruption charges for alleged abuse of power.

The BN, which has 20 seats as opposed to PR’s 36, need only obtain nine defectors to form a simple majority in the State Legislature.

A meeting held at the official residence of Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last night was geared towards identifying representatives, including Members of Parliament who may have some beef with the leadership of their respective parties and to iron out outstanding issues.

The three-hour meeting was a cordial affair where everyone present agreed on the need for open and frank communication so as to allay any misunderstanding among the leaders that will confuse and worry voters.

Except for disgruntled Kapar MP S. Maniackavasagam and several representatives who were overseas, all assemblymen and parliamentarians attended the dinner meeting.

It was decided there was no need to sign any oath of allegiance because ultimately "the allegiance is more towards the voters".

It was also agreed that such meetings should be held more regularly to straighten out issues and to avoid confusion, as well as to keep everyone in check, said a source.

As chief executive of the State, Abdul Khalid also heads PR in Selangor. He had told a news conference on Wednesday that the meeting would also discuss how allocations to assemblymen could be better spent.

Of late, there had been murmurings among several assemblymen over the amount and method of disbursement of the allocations.
Bukit Lanjan assemblywoman and executive councillor for tourism, consumer affairs and the environment, Elizabeth Wong of PKR said she is confident one will not see a repeat of Perak where the PR government fell following the resignation of one DAP and two PKR assemblymen from their parties, and throwing their support behind BN.

She accused BN of waging a psychological war to make PR politicians suspicious of one another.

“I am not unduly worried as from what we see in Perak, it is clear to all that anyone who jumps or causes the State Government to fall will be hounded till the end of the world.”
PKR’s Seri Setia assemblyman and Abdul Khalid’s political secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad dismissed these overtures as BN propaganda.

“They are using the media to propagate this hype but we are quite certain we will not see a repeat of Perak,” he said.

Sungai Pinang Assemblyman, DAP’s Teng Chang Khim, said the only attempt to woo him was in March last year when he was not appointed as an executive councillor.

“Rumours of me crossing over to Gerakan had been there since 1996 but I can tell you that I am not crossing over to the BN,” he said.

He admitted he has differences with several DAP leaders but said it is wrong to say that he is being marginalised by the whole party.

He also said that PKR, DAP and PAS have a “very good working relationship”.

“We have had four BBC (Back Benchers’ Club) meetings since October and the attendance has been good. Even Badrul Hisham was there.

Teng said in the case of the alleged blackmails, he was confident the assemblyman concerned would rather thrash it out in court than earn the wrath of the people by jumping ship.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am not going to cross over: Badrul - Star


SHAH ALAM: PKR’s Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah has quashed talk that he is crossing over to Umno.

Badrul Hisham, who was mobbed by the media after attending a briefing Thursday on land matters at the state secretariat, pledged to remain loyal to PKR and its de-facto chief Anwar Ibrahim.

“The allegations are not true and fabricated by the opposition to create chaos in the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor," Badrul Hisham, 49, told a press conference.

He said he was discussing with the party’s lawyers allegations made against him by a TV network and an online news portal.

The news portal reported that Badrul Hisham had gone missing due to problems with his family after his wife caught him in close proximity with another woman.

It also stated that the assemblyman was said to be in Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s bad books, and was also peeved at being merely given the task coordinating the state library.

Badrul Hisham, who was accompanied by PKR vice-president Azmin Ali at the press conference, said he had been carrying on with his duties as assemblyman without any hiccups.

Rumblings about Badrul Hisham’s alleged defection took root recently after the assemblyman was believed to have gone missing.

To make matters worse, reports against Badrul Hisham’s alleged regular absence from his constituency had also been sent to Khalid by Port Klang residents.

“It is just a technical problem. I will change," he said when asked about this, pledging to go to his service centre daily.

Badrul Hisham said he would be attending the special meeting between Khalid and all Selangor elected representatives at the MB’s official residence.

Earlier Thursday, his wife Ramizah Mazlan said wild allegations were levelled against Badrul Hisham by certain quarters from within as well as outside the party.

“All these allegations are untrue. He has been receiving threats even before he won the Port Klang seat,” said Ramizah when met at the family home in Kampung Raja Uda in Port Klang.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

S'gor MB to meet all reps to nix crossover rumours - Star

Feb 11, 2009 By WANI MUTHIAH

SHAH ALAM: Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said he would be meeting all the state’s Members of Parliament (MPs) and assemblymen Thursday to counter speculation of crossovers in the state.

He said this was necessary given the recent political development in neighbouring Perak, where the resignation of three assemblymen and the defection of a fourth saw the state falling to Barisan Nasional hands.

“We will also be discussing how the allocations we have for MPs and state assemblymen can best be used to benefit the people,” said Khalid when asked about Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah who is allegedly missing in action.

Khalid said PKR member Badrul Hisham is also expected to attend the meeting at the state secretariat building.

Elected representatives were not only responsible towards the party but also towards the electorate that voted for them, he noted.

However, while there could be reasons for them to hop to another party, under the current circumstances, it is unlikely that this would happen, he said.

It is believed that Badrul Hisham’s constituents had complained about his absence from functions in his constituency and that it was difficult to get in touch with him.

Speculation is rife that he may defect to another party because of this alleged lack of commitment to his constituents as well as alleged meetings with Umno leaders.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Khalid to Khir Toyo: Retract or get sued - Star

Feb 4, 2009 By LOH FOON FONG

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has given Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo an ultimatum to retract his recent statement against him within seven days or risk being sued.

Lawyer Sankara Nair, who is representing Khalid, said two letters of demand were posted to the former Selangor MB on Wednesday, demanding an apology, retraction and damages.

The letters referred to a report in the New Straits Times on Jan 15 and another in Utusan Malaysia on Jan 23 with the headings “Lexus is my own, says Khalid” and “Lepaskan jawatan MB” (Lay down your post, MB) respectively, he said.

“They are bereft of truth and a distortion calculated to disparage our client’s reputation and to undermine his integrity, both in his personal and public capacity,” Sankara said.

Mohd Khir had implied that Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB) funds were used to purchase a Toyota Lexus four-wheel drive for Khalid.

Sankara claimed that Khalid had bought the car during the Ijok by-election and has the documents to prove that it is his personal car.

Mohd Khir had also claimed that the state government had financed the purchase of cows worth RM110,400 that were distributed in Khalid’s parliamentary seat, Bandar Tun Razak, which is not in Selangor.

Khalid had recently explained that the arrangements to purchase and donate the cows to Bandar Tun Razak were made solely by PKNS and the donor companies without his or his officers’ involvement.

Despite the explanation, Khir had not apologised or retracted his statements, said Sankara.

“If an apology and retraction comes, my client will forget the matter; otherwise, we will go by way of a summons,” he said.