Malaysia

Khir dares Khalid to name BN lawmakers in housing scam

By Boo Su-Lyn
May 28, 2010

Khir (right) said Khalid’s claims were a political ploy. — file picKhir (right) said Khalid’s claims were a political ploy. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo today challenged Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to name the Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers allegedly involved in a low-cost housing fiasco.

The Selangor mentri besar had accused BN assemblymen and MPs of abusing quotas for low-cost homes in the state for personal use or for their families, yesterday.

The latest controversy to engulf the state involves some 500 Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) staff, including department heads and directors, who were accused of owning low-cost flats in Petaling Jaya meant for the poor.

“This is all a political game... by Khalid Ibrahim,” the former Selangor MB told The Malaysian Insider today.

“I want to know who they (BN lawmakers) are,” he added.

Khir pointed out that during his tenure as the state mentri besar, there were no low-cost housing quotas set aside for city council staff.

“Those who wanted to buy low-cost housing must register at the Lembaga Kerumahan (Selangor Housing and Property Board),” said Khir. “There were no quotas.”

When asked about the criteria for owning low-cost housing in the state, the Selangor opposition chief said an applicant’s household income must not exceed RM2,500 to be eligible.

However, Khir was evasive in explaining how that amount was derived, saying, “How to calculate (that figure) depends on the Lembaga Kerumahan.”

MBPJ’s planning director Sharipah Marhaini Syed Ali, one of the council’s high-ranking officials owning a low-cost house, had said those with a household income of more than RM2,500 were still eligible for low-cost units as long as their total household income amounts to RM2,500 or less after deducting household expenses.

The State Economic Planning Unit ordered a review yesterday of how state employees were allocated low-cost homes since 2004.

“(There were) no official reports to (my) office,” said Khir when asked whether there were such cases of policy abuse during his tenure.

The issue of ineligible MBPJ staff owning low-cost flats was first raised by MBPJ councillor Mak Khuin Weng in February this year, when he asked the State Select Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) to investigate two senior MBPJ officers for owning low-cost apartment units despite earning more than RM2,500 at the time of purchase.

Mak had also sent a second statement requesting MBPJ mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman to investigate the matter, with a copy of the request to Selcat on April 29 this year.

The councillor said he had received no official word that Selcat would pursue the matter since his first statement in February.