Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim's political secretary Faekah Husin is perplexed by the vociferous attacks on her boss by former MB Khir Toyo, saying the accusations only lead back to Khir.
"If I were Khir Toyo, I would shut up," the successful former lawyer told Malaysiakini in an exclusive interview at her office yesterday.
Her investigations into the alleged problems and issues raised by the Umno stalwart, she said, only revealed a trail of breadcrumbs that led back to the state opposition leader and those close to him. She gave one example, that of the Felda land parcels in Ijok, where development had been delayed because the block title for the plots could not be issued to the developers.
"This involves about 60 settler families and 120 acres of land. They accuse Khalid of being responsible. And they ask: What kind of corporate man is this? Why the delay?" But the real problem, contended Faekah, originated with the issuance of the Felda land titles.
"I even see the name of a dentist on the Felda land titles! Now, that is only one case... I haven't yet looked at the names of their wives and relatives. Who knows, who else could show up," she said. Some of the names she discovered, she said, were those of prominent figures who were currently "running all over the state, pointing fingers and giving talks" in order to "save" Selangor.
Tip of the iceberg
Faekah said land titles had been given to people in power and their families... "they were distributed to division chiefs", she said, adding that those afraid to be named used the names of their wives, or that of others. These "undeserving" title holders, she said, only wanted to sell their land to developers later, to make a quick and easy profit. These people, she added, were the stumbling blocks, for they refused to surrender the titles unless the price demanded was paid.
"You see, even if a single land title is not surrendered, you cannot issue a block title to the developers. That is the real story," she said.
Faekah further revealed that the Felda land parcels in Ijok were just the tip of the iceberg and that there were many more cases like these throughout Selangor, most of them originating during the tenure of Khir Toyo.
Much ado about bonus
She also shared her discovery of unusually high monetary and material "incentives" that Selangor officials under previous administrations enjoyed from state-owned companies. This, she said, was the reason Khir was making much ado about bonuses given by the Selangor sand mining arm Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB).
"He is attacking us on the bonus, but the real issue is something else."
Faekah said she found this out some time ago, when the menteri besar "suddenly received an incentive payment" of RM145,000 from the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), as well as an offer to purchase high-valued land in Damansara at a significant discount.
"He was angry and shocked. Who approved this? What is the procedure, he asked; and instructed me to look into it," she said.
From her investigations she found out that the "incentive" payment for all state government officers was was standard practice of previous state administrations. She believes the procedure used is questionable as the payments were never approved by the PKNS board, but released by its financial department on an ad-hoc basis.
"They said that this was the way it was done since the former administration," Faekah said when relating what the PKNS financial department staff told her about the "incentive" payouts.
According to her, other than the MB, state exco members also received these 'incentives'. She said Khalid refused the land offer but was holding on to the cheque from PKNS as proof to show to the state assembly.
She also said that Khalid was in the midst of drawing up proper guidelines on whether, and how, incentives should be given to state officials, which would be submitted to the state legislative assembly in order to curb future abuses or excesses. More damningly, Faekah said, records she dug up showed the state officers who pocketed many such "incentives" when they "ruled" over Selangor.
As for the controversy surrounding the much talked about six months' bonus paid out by KSSB, she said this was back-pay and arrears.
"They started the company from zero and Khalid only paid them one-third of their actual pay as the company lacked resources. But they worked hard and managed to get KSSB up and running.
"The mistake was to label the payments as bonus. It should have been classified as backpay and arrears," she said.
Conflict of interest
Attempts by Khir to muddy Khalid over the water concession issue were also baseless, Faekah added, claiming that Khir was the real culprit behind the matter.
"The water concession agreement was formulated during his time. He tried to pass the buck to the MB before him, but I believe it was during his tenure. I did my homework," she said.
There were also some concerns of conflict of interest as the water concession has been given to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas), then headed by Rozali Ismail, who was state Umno treasurer. Rozali, who is now Selangor Malay Chamber of Commerce (DPMMS) chairperson, has been very vocal in lamenting the fate of Malay contractors who, he said, have been 'sidelined' by the state. Faekah claims this is not true.
"We invited the Malay contractors to sit down with us and discuss their needs regarding the development blueprint and the open budget. "But they did not come, so how can we know what they need?"
She believes the Malay contractors have been too comfortable with the preferential treatment they received from previous Barisan Nasional administrations and have been using that as a crutch for too long, instead of learning to be more competitive. "I think they have been dimanjakan (spoilt)," opined Faekah.- Hazlan Zakaria
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