Monday September 10, 2012
Talamgate controversy: Selangor MB not a man of his word, says Zin
SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Mentri Besar has come under fire for not keeping the promises he made to the public ever since the state government's purchase of land worth hundreds of millions of ringgit from Talam Corporation was exposed.
State Barisan Nasional coordinator Datuk Seri Zin Mohamed said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had in July promised five local audit firms of international standing would be appointed to review Talam's RM676mil bailout.
“After two months, all we hear is a statement from (audit firm) KPMG's advisory unit and we are not sure whether it carried out a full scope audit, review or merely an advisory,” he said. “What happened to the rest?”
Zin likened the situation to a general practitioner issuing a clean bill of health to a patient even though he had chronic diseases simply because a complete medical test had not been carried out by qualified specialists.
He said the Barisan could not accept KPMG's statement as it appeared that its scope of work was limited based on the documents provided to them.
The state government, he added, would only show documents that supported them and not those that might allow KPMG to come up with damaging conclusions.
The audit firm, Zin said, also did not answer thoroughly the crux of Talamgate the state government paying hundreds of millions of ringgit for worthless land.
He said KPMG's executive director of advisory unit Chan Siew Mei had also admitted to finding instances where the value of land assets involved were lower than the debt it was to offset.
The Mentri Besar, Zin said, should not use KPMG as a “shield” and should personally answer the questions brought up.
Zin said another promise that had not been fulfilled was the promise of a White Paper, adding that the public could judge the Mentri Besar's record from these.
He said the relevant authorities were “sitting on their butts” when the state government violated procedures when it did not seek the Valuation and Property Services Department's advice when carrying out the valuation of each of the land it purchased.
“That is the standard operating procedure,” Zin pointed out. “Even a public servant buying a house using government loans has to adhere to such procedures, and yet we have here a Mentri Besar who uses hundreds of millions of ringgit to buy land without the department being asked to state whether the prices were correct.”
He said the relevant authorities had dragged their feet on the issue for “far too long”, saying issues brought up by the Opposition seemed to get immediate attention.
In July, MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong questioned how an exercise to recover the RM392mil debt owed by Talam to state-linked entities ended up in questionable deals worth more than RM1bil.
The RM1bil deal includes Talam assets acquired by the Selangor government at RM676mil to offset the debt and a RM392mil grant obtained by Mentri Besar Incorporated to facilitate the debt recovery exercise.
Chua had also exposed questionable deals involving Bestari Jaya land (overvalued by RM100mil), Danau Putra land (overvalued by RM57mil), Menara Pandan Office lots (overvalued by RM1.9mil), Ulu Yam land on steep hillslopes (overvalued by RM5.3mil), 60% shares in Ulu Yam Golf and Country Club (overvalued by RM1.2mil) and six parcels of land in Bukit Beruntung 2 (overvalued by RM232mil).