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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Selangor MB Khalid bewildered over councillor probe 'leak'

Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has confirmed that a local government councillor is being probed internally on allegations that he had used an exco's letterhead to secure contracts for his cronies.
NONEKhalid (centre in photo) said the investigation has been going on for the past “two or three weeks”.

"I am actually embarrassed that whatever we investigated has been leaked," he told a press conference after the state budget dialogue at the Shah Alam Convention Centre this afternoon.

"So I'm not going to call this a 'scoop' because it is already our intention to make sure that we get all our facts clear before we take the necessary action."

He said that a state government staff will be handling the audit of the matter.

"But we need to investigate the matter more before we can take any action," he said, adding that he does not rule out handing the matter over to the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Khalid was responding to a front-page report in Star which alleged that the councillor, a DAP veteran, had secured contracts worth more than RM1 million for 20 companies since July 2008.

He had allegedly done so by misusing state exco Ronnie Liu's letterhead and seal to send out letters of support. Liu is in charge of the local government portfolio.

Khalid explains reappointment

The English-language daily had also reported that Liu was adamantly against the councillor's reappointment but his views were ignored by "other state-level party leaders".

Asked why the councillor was reappointed in the latest reshuffle last month and why he was given a seat on the council's powerful tender board, Khalid said that he wanted to give the councillor "the benefit of doubt".

"We cannot punish him until we are clear on the situation. We will need to ascertain the matter. The letter could have been signed by another group altogether," he said.

Khalid echoed the advice given by chief secretary to the federal government in a recent circular, barring civil servants from entertaining "support letters".

NONEMeanwhile, excos Ean Yong Hian Wah and Liu, who are both top DAP state leaders, refused to elaborate on the matter.

When approached by reporters on separate occasions, Liu (right) said that he has heard of the allegations, but there is no way to confirm these.

"I first heard about it some time before the last assessment earlier this year. But you know me, I don't act based on hearsay or rumours," said Liu, told reporters, while appearing tense.

Party to act

Insisting that he will not act based on hearsay, he said he merely wants to be "fair".

Asked if the councillor will be suspended pending investigations, Liu said that he will leave it to the party.

"But I don't even know what your question means," he told the reporter.

Ean Yong, who is also the state DAP chairperson said they will meet the councillor "soon", but refused to elaborate.

"But as far as I know, the party disciplinary committee chair(person) Tan Kok Wai has yet to receive complaints," said Ean Yong.

He denied that he was the "unseen hand" behind the councillor's recent reappointment, as alleged in the Star report.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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