Khalid seeks Tee Yong apology over ‘false’ Talam accusations
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today that a debate with Datuk Chua Tee Yong over the state’s exercise to recover debts from Talam Corporation was unnecessary and urged the MCA man to apologise for accusing the state government of a RM1 billion bailout.
“Tee Yong (picture) and his father (MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek) can continue to raise a hue and cry via the mainstream media but I decline to be dragged into their political mudslinging. However, I will consider having a frank discussion with Tee Yong if he apologises over his statement that the state conducted a RM1 billion bailout on Talam — an accusation that has been clearly proven false by the KPMG report.
“The accusation was reported in all mainstream newspapers and discussed in various editorials; when it was proven false, however, there was not a single apology or retraction. If Tee Yong is a true gentlemen, he should apologise for calling into question the integrity of all the civil servants who worked very hard to recover this RM392 million of debt for the people of Selangor,” the Selangor mentri besar said in a statement issued this evening.
Earlier this month, independent auditors cleared the Selangor government of any irregularities in its debt recovery exercise involving the company formerly known as Talam Corporation and declared it a “sound commercial decision.’’
Khalid’s administration had appointed KPMG Transaction and Restructuring Sdn Bhd (KPMG) in July to review its RM392 million debt recovery exercise following allegations by MCA that the state government’s dealings with Talam — now known as Trinity Corporation — were lopsided and had ended up costing taxpayers up to RM1 billion.
Chua, the MCA Young Professionals Bureau chairman, had recently alleged that Khalid’s administration bought over Talam Corp’s RM676 million assets to clear the firm’s outstanding debts of RM392 million to three state subsidiaries.
He further claimed that the RM392 million in the supplementary budget approved by the state assembly in November 2010 to the MBI was used by the state government for the alleged bailout.
Trinity Corporation had also denied allegations that it sold land to the Selangor state government at above market value, pointing out that the valuation fell under the scrutiny of the Securities Commission’s Assets Valuation Department.
The company added in a stock exchange filing in July that the valuation was also approved by SC and Bursa Malaysia.
In his statement today, Khalid said one of the reasons he had not accepted Chua’s challenge to a debate was because the latter was not interested in discussing policy.
“There were arguments that Tee Yong is not at a level which is appropriate for me to engage with, but this is not my primary concern. My primary concern is the type of debate that is being called for.
“If Tee Yong had done some research on political debates, he would have noticed that meaningful debates among respected politicians are all about policies. Tax, education, health, defence — these are policies that have a significant public impact, and are discussed at length by respected politicians and leaders in the US and the UK. The topic raised by Tee Yong is far less relevant than these.”
Khalid said Chua’s concerns had been answered by the KPMG audit, and four representatives had been appointed by the state government to explain the matter to him.
Last week, Chua refused a debate over Selangor’s debt recovery exercise from Talam Corporation with four representatives of the state government, leading to accusations from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) politicians that he feared the truth.
The four had been appointed official spokesmen on the Talam controversy by Khalid and had turned up at a function organised by MCA for Chua to debate the mentri besar.
The four are DAP’s Tony Pua, PAS’ Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, PKR’s William Leong and the Selangor Mentri Besar’s political secretary, Faekah Husin.
“I would like to reiterate that the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor has diligently observed its commitment to accountability and transparency. Unlike Barisan Nasional, we are not bogged down by corrupt traditions and a dismal history of mismanagement,” said Khalid.