Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan Sdn Bhd
MACC TO PROBE YAYASAN FIASCO?
PETALING JAYA: Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan (Selangor Darul Ehsan) will be seeking legal advice on whether it should lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against the Selangor government’s post-for-project decision.
Foundation chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Sakom told The Malay Mail this morning that the State’s directive to appoint Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Batu Tiga assemblyman Rodziah Ismail as chairman and trustee respectively along with two other State government representatives was a clear indication it plans to take over the foundation.
“The board of trustees cannot have more than six board members. As the State government wants four of its representatives on board, then it is clear that it wants to take over the foundation,” he said in refuting Rodziah’s statement that the State government just wanted to add and not replace the trustees (see accompanying report).
He also refuted a claim by Rodziah that the land bank under the foundation belonged to the State government and it, therefore, must get involved to monitor its usage to prevent misappropriation.
“The 1,642 acres of land in Serendah awarded to the foundation in 1995 does not belong to the State. We have already paid the premiums on the land and we own the title. How can she say that the land belongs to the State?” he asked.
Zainal, who rebutted claims that the State government had given the foundation 3,000 acres of land, also refuted Rodziah’s claim that the State government wanted to prevent misappropriation.
“The UiTM project is the first one we are going to develop. There is no way we have misappropriated anything as all the land is still an undeveloped forest. It is only now that we are going to start developing the land,” he said.
Zainal said the foundation had built 1,000 housing units for the poor on land provided by the State government or private land, other than the 1,642 acres awarded in 1995.
On Rodziah’s statement that the State’s involvement will allow them to assist the foundation on aspects such as management and administration, as well as planning of poverty eradication programmes, Zainal said: “We also know how to do management and administration. We have been doing this on our own and we are capable of doing this on our own. We have also been in the land business for 20 years.”
Yesterday, The Malay Mail had reported that YBK, and its subsidiary Permodalan YBK Sdn Bhd, could not proceed with the development of the UiTM campus because it had refused to bow to pressure from the State government.
The State government, it was learnt, had used the inability of the foundation to settle quit rent arrears for 1,642 acres of its land as a “bargaining chip” to get Khalid and Rodziah appointed to YBK’s board of trustees.
The foundation, which has had its numerous appeals to pay off the arrears by surrendering some of its land turned down, had wanted to settle the arrears with its earnings from the UiTM project — which is slated to accommodate 5,000 students.
The project was awarded a Letter of Intent by the Federal government’s Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in 2008 and Permodalan YBK was subsequently issued a letter of approval by the Hulu Selangor District Council.
The council, however, had stated that the project could only go ahead if the foundation obtained the final approval of the State Planning Committee, something that was never given.
We just want to add, says Rodziah
PETALING JAYA: Rodziah Ismail, when contacted, said when the foundation was set up during former Selangor MB Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib’s tenure, there was coordination between the foundation and State government.
“However, after he resigned as the MB, the foundation was left on its own and became like a private entity,” she said.
“Aside from allowing us having a say in the foundation’s programmes on eradicating poverty, it will also allow us to monitor and control other aspects of the foundation, such as administration and planning.”
Rodziah said it was also necessary for the State government to protect its own interests, especially in regards to land matters, as the State had awarded YBK a lot of land over the years to fulfill its purpose.
“As the land still belongs to the State, we need to ensure that its use is monitored to avoid misappropriation,”
“The State government’s involvement is not political. There is nothing political about this, nor do we have any personal interest in the foundation. We have no intention to taking over or replacing the board of trustees.
“We’re just asking for two additions: the MB as chairman and I as a trustee because I am in charge of welfare in the State,” Rodziah said, adding that the Selangor government had the right to do so since YBK owed the State more than RM5 million in quit rent arrears.
She does not see any problem if YBK wants to surrender some of its land to settle its quit rent arrears.
However, she did not address the issue of why requests by the foundation for the State government to accept this contra deal were not entertained.
On whether the foundation’s refusal to comply with the directive from State Financial Officer Datuk Mohd Arif Ab Rahman, in a letter dated Dec 7, to give the key positions in YBK to Khalid and herself had anything to do with YBK’s inability to proceed with its development of the RM300 million UiTM campus project in Serendah, Rodziah said: “We are very supportive of the development, but the issue is that YBK has not paid the quit rent on the land which it claims to own. If the basics can’t even be solved, how can we allow it to proceed?”
State government’s response
PETALING JAYA: The Selangor government’s decision for Khalid to be made chairman of YBK and Batu Tiga assemblyman Rodziah Ismail a trustee is a strategic decision to ensure that its resources are properly utilised.
A spokesman for the MB’s office told The Malay Mail yesterday that “everything was done above board”.
The State government, she said, saw this as a strategic decision as it had given YBK some 3,000 acres of land worth RM300 million for welfare purposes and that its participation would ensure that the resources were properly utilised.
She said it was not strange for the State government to be involved in the running of non-governmental organisations, citing the case of the Football Association of Selangor (FAS), where the MB sits as president since funds for FAS come from the State, as an example.
She said the directive to appoint Khalid and Rodziah is also not specific to these two individuals per se, but their positions as MB and State executive councillor in charge of Welfare will continue even if the current government is replaced.