The debts owed to various Selangor-owned companies have still not been recovered, says Labis MP Chua Tee Yong.
KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA alleged today that the Selangor government had “lied” about recovering millions worth of debts from public-listed company Talam Corporation Sdn owed to various Selangor-owned companies, as the loans have still not been repaid.
Labis MP Chua Tee Yong said the Selangor government had possibly misused public funds when it helped “bail out” Talam with a RM392 million supplementary budget passed in the State Legislative Assembly in 2009.
Besides, he said the Pakatan Rakyat government had even bought additional RM676 million worth of assets from Talam (now known as Trinity Corporation Bhd) to further assist the company.
Chua, who is also Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister, said if the debt – RM392 million – is added to the RM676 million spent by the Selangor government to purchase additional assets, the total sum would amount to “about RM1 billion” in what he termed a “questionable deal”.
“This is a clear-cut case of a bailout whereby the Pakatan state government used the rakyat’s money to help a listed company by buying a lot of its assets. Why did they continue to purchase more assets?” he said at a much-hyped press conference at the MCA headquarters here today.
Of the RM392 million, Talam supposedly owed Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and Permodalan Nasional Selangor Bhd (PNSB) RM277 million and SAP Holdings RM115 million.
To substantiate his claim that monies were not paid out, Chua cited state-owned Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd’s (KHSB) annual report where about RM115 million was still stated as being owed; and the fact that Unisel still needed to liquidate its assets during the PTPTN (National Higher Education Loan Corporation) controversy.
“There is no need for Unisel to sell assets to raise RM30 million for its use if they did receive money from Talam’s debt recovery exercise,” said Chua, who is an accountant and former chief financial officer of a government-linked company.
“The Selangor government must explain to the rakyat the acquisition of assets valued at RM676 million and the use of RM392 million allocation – this total [RM1billion] is a questionable deal.”
He said the Selangor government’s claim that all debts have been recovered on behalf of the state companies is incorrect.
He said the deal was fishy.
According to Chua, Talam’s annual report had disclosed that on March 12, 2010 and April 9, 2010, the Selangor government purchased assets worth RM676 million from the company.
However, he alleged that Talam walked away with RM266 million in cash which was paid to Talam bankers from this deal.
He questioned why was RM266 million paid to Talam when an amount of RM284 million (RM676 million offset by RM392 million) was supposed to be paid. “What happened to this RM18 million?” he asked.
“Before this deal with Selangor government, Talam is still under PN17 with lots of debts. When a company is in PN17 [issued by Bursa Malaysia] that means financially it is not in good shape and it can be delisted, which will be detrimental to the shareholders.”
Chua said after the “deal” with the Selangor government, Talam was no longer classified as PN17.
“Instead of recovering the RM392 million debt, the Selangor government bought up an additional RM284 million worth of assets from Talam to assist the company,” he said.
He said the reports stating that the state had allocated RM300 million for the Selangorku programme – supposedly proceeds from the deal with Talam — was “a lie, a sham”.
“Where did this RM300 million come from?” he asked, claiming that he had information that the RM676 million assets the Selangor government acquired from Talam were not touched.
“[It has] not been sold to external parties and any transaction is internal between the state government and the state companies. Neither were there any development projects carried out on the lands which were acquired,” he said.
“We have been taken for a ride. The Selangor state companies [Unisel, PNSB and SAP Holding] have not received any money for the debt recovered from Talam. Instead, the Selangor government has acquired RM676 million of assets to bail out Talam.”
‘Table a white paper’
Chua urged the Selangor government to immediately present a white paper on the matter, as previously promised and disclose all the assets acquired and their valuation and basis.
He said that in July 2010, the Selangor government had promised to table a white paper on the state government’s controversial debt recovery exercise involving Talam.
“The state government also mentioned that a white paper would be presented at year-end but until today, we are still waiting for this white paper. Is there a cover-up? Is that the reason there is no white paper until today?”
“I’m waiting for them [state government] to explain. From what we are looking at, the people who got the money in the end was not the government or the people, but Talam Corp, which walked away with the most cash.”
“We have a lot of questions… the only one with the answers is the Pakatan government.”
Chua said this was “just the beginning” and asked the public to wait for “part two” of the “scandal”.
Earlier, Chua posted a series of tweets teasing about an alleged scandal “involving RM1 billion worth of wheeling and dealing”.
He claimed that the scandal involve a public-listed company and abuse of public funds. He said in one of his tweets that it was “shocking” how well the Pakatan government has managed to conceal the alleged scandal through complicated transactions.
Chua said the deals were related to asset transfers, restructuring tactics and corporate exercises, among others.
He said that it involved “lots of rakyat money, state companies, private company… lots of transactions.”