Thursday, August 26, 2010

Documents of another 'Ronnie crony' emerge

By Teoh El Sen and Rahmah Ghazali

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FMT EXCLUSIVE PETALING JAYA: As the pressure mounts for several Selangor DAP leaders to resign over the support letter imbroglio, new documents have surfaced to indicate more alleged abuse of power.

Documents sent to FMT by an anonymous source today showed that the Pandamaran new village chief Yap Hock Siew had issued a letter of support to a company belonging to him to procure a contract for the maintenance and cleaning of river floodgates.

This was purportedly endorsed by Selangor state exco and Pandamaran assemblyman Ronnie Liu.

Among the documents was a letter dated June 17 this year. It was sent by First Team Enterprise to Klang Municipal Council president Anuar Abd Wahab, and the letter bore what appeared to be the seal and signature of Liu.

The letter was an application for the maintennance and cleaning works of a floodgate at Jalan Papan Pandamaran.

There was also a letter of support to the council president from Pandamaran new village chief Yap to back First Team's application for the contract on the same date.

The source also included a report from the Companies Commission of Malaysia which stated that Yap owned First Team.

Same principle applies for all

Commenting on this, a party leader, who wished to remain anonymous, said the party must look into the matter.

“If the DAP discliplinary committee and Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim held that Tee Boon Hock had committed an offence, then tell me, is this not a direct conflict of interest as well?

"How can a village head support his own company? Right or wrong is not for us to say, but if you apply one principle on Tee, then it should be applied on everyone. Plus, Ronnie (Liu) must have known about Yap's position, why did he still support it?" he said.

Tee was sacked from DAP and as a Klang municipal councillor for allegedly misusing Liu's letterhead and seal to procure contracts for his son and cronies.

Meanwhile, FMT was also furnished with a letter of support signed by Liu on April 14, 2008 backing five companies to be nominated as contractors for cleaning works, including First Team.

Also on the list were Perkhidmatan AA, owned by Tee's son, and Wira M&E Sdn Bhd, the company for whom Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim had reporetdly issued a support letter for.

'Money is for the people'

Contacted later, Yap told FMT that he did not get any contracts since he was appointed as the village head this year.

"For this floodgate contract, we still don't know if we got it or not as I heard it was cancelled because of all this controversy," he said.

Asked if it was unethical to endorse his own company, Yap replied:" As the Village Safety and Development Committee (JKKK), we are not financially supported by the Pakatan Rakyat government, and I as village head only get RM450 a month.”

“This contract was for the community, as we are to use 100% of what we earn from it to pay for electricity, water and other bills for the JKKK hall, office and basketball court," he said.

Yap, who is also the Pasar Pandamaran DAP branch chairman, added that he estimated the project could bring in about RM6,000 a month.

'Classic crony company'

However, DAP's Klang MP Charles Santiago disagreed, calling it a case of a “classic crony company”.

"For you to say that you need the money for the people is not a basis to be awarded any contracts. A political party should be supported with its own fundraising, its own members," he said.

Santiago maintained that the culture of issuing or seeking support letters should be stopped by 2011, with a committee being set up now to look into the details.

"The menteri besar should be more decisive in saying that there should be no letters of support to businesses - with exceptions given to welfare cases and small projects," he said.

Last week, Liu was let off with a severe reprimand by the party's discliplinary committee over the controversy and was told to manage his office more professionally.

Both Liu and Teng are now facing pressure to resign.Liu, the local government, study and research exco, could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Khalid today maintained that no action would be taken against Liu.

Asked at a press conference if the exco should he sacked, the MB replied: "Ronnie Liu? I don’t think so because based on our findings, there's no issue with the support letters."

“Let me look at the audit report first... I am not going to make any statements until I look at the report. We practice transparency, and we will reveal the report,” he said.

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