|Andrew Ong | May 16, 08 3:44pm
|RM500,000 spent in 44 days!
A group residents from the Teratai state constituency in Ampang turned to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) today for help to solve the mystery of how the half-a-million allocated for the constituency was spent.
The 10 residents filed a report with the Selangor ACA headquarters in Shah Alam based on records obtained from the Ampang Jaya District Office.
Documents supporting the residents claim were distributed to the press by newly elected Teratai state assemblyperson Jenice Lee, who accompanied the residents.
The documents showed that the money was disbursed between Jan 1 and Feb 14 during the tenure of Gerakan’s Yat Soo Sun.
Based on the records, a company known as Tunggak Mahligai Enterprise received a total of RM275,000 over the period.
In their report, the residents alleged that the company is owned by one ‘Mohd Firdaus Abu Zarin’ who is said to be a politician from Kampung Cheras Baru.
Most items in the records showed that the company was paid for organising or providing equipment for community projects.
One of the complainants, Dorothy Chong, said many of the activities the company was paid for, such as organising Chinese New Year and Thaipusam celebrations, were ‘suspicious’
“No such events ever took place,” said Chong, a decade-long resident in the constituency.
Another disputed item in the records is how RM95,000 was disbursed to the Taman Melor Sports and Recreation Club. The residents also disputed the existence of this club.
Annually, the Selangor state government disburses RM500,000 at the beginning of the year to each state constituency meant for use by the respective state assemblypersons.
The state assemblyperson can use this funds, held in trust by the district officer, for donations, disaster relief, small infrastructure projects, festive celebrations and so forth.
Not an isolated case
Lee told reporters that she hoped that the ACA would get to the bottom of the matter as the funds were meant to benefit the rakyat
“Finishing funds meant for the whole year in 44 days in unreasonable. My constituents are now affected by the moves of my predecessor,” said Janice Lee.
A check with three other ruling Pakatan Rakyat state assemblyperson revealed that the case in Teratai is not an isolated one. State allocations for the Kampung Tunku, Kajang and Taman Medan constituencies have also nearly been depleted.
According to Kajang assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin, his constituency is left with about RM600 in state allocations after he took ever the position in March.
Documents provided by Lee stated that his predecessor MCA’s Low Lee Leng had used RM134,805 of the funds while another RM141,570 was paid to a company called Asialogic Enterprise.
Taman Medan assemblyperson Haniza Talha said her constituency’s RM500,000 in state allocations had nearly run dry between Jan 25 and Feb 1.
Kampung Tunku assemblyperson Lau Weng San said his constituency is left with about RM15,500 after the March 8 polls and is investigating how the money had been spent.
Like in the case of Teratai, a large chunk of the disbursement went towards a select few companies and all payments were made in round figures.
Lau questioned the authenticity these companies as some do not have records with the Companies Commission.
“I did a check on all 15 companies in the list and found details on only 10. Maybe there might have been a typos on the records but it is still very suspicious,” he told Malaysiakini.
The records also showed that Lau’s predecessor Wong Sai Hou had disbursed to himself RM20,000 for Chinese New Year celebration purposes and RM12,000 for the administration of his office for 2008.
Lau said Wong should have taken the RM12,000 in one lump sum as it was unfair now that there is a change of state assemblypersons.
“People are affected by the misuse of the state funds. It should have been spent prudently and evenly throughout the year,” he said.
It is learnt that the Pakatan state government has allocated an additional RM375,000 to all state constituencies, including those held by Barisan Nasional, in view of the present circumstances.
It is also believed that a select committee at the state assembly to probe this matter would be established soon.