Khalid says ‘having fun’ with MCA’s RM1b scandal claims
KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today he has been “having fun” watching MCA trip over its own allegations of fund abuse against the Selangor government over the alleged RM1 billion bailout of Talam Corporation.
The first-term mentri besar pointed out to reporters today that MCA has even been inconsistent with its allegations, to the point of scaling down figures from its original RM1 billion claim.
“I know... the answers have been changing from RM1 billion to RM270 million... then now down to RM40 million,” Khalid said at a press conference in Gombak, clearly unfazed by MCA’s charges.
“I am having fun listening to what they are doing because us in the state executive council have agreed that if their (MCA) goal is to insult the state government, it is better for us to just sue them in court,” he added.
On Wednesday, Khalid said the state would take legal action against MCA and all parties who have accused the government of misusing RM1 billion worth of taxpayer funds to bailout the troubled property developer Talam Corp in 2010.
MCA Young Professionals Bureau chairman Datuk Chua Tee Yong had alleged on Tuesday that Khalid’s administration had bought over Talam Corp’s RM676 million assets to clear the firm’s outstanding debts of RM392 million to three state subsidiaries.
He had further claimed that the RM392 million in the supplementary budget approved by the state assembly in November 2010 to Mentri Besar Incorporated (MBI) was used by the state government for the alleged bailout.
Khalid said today the state’s lawyers were yet to inform him of the list of possible defendants the state would name in its suit.
“But since MCA has been saying that Selangor has been cheating (the people)... if they want to speak about cheating... better to discuss it in court. I am yet to receive the list of names from our lawyers,” he said.
According to news portal Malaysiakini, Khalid also said that the state would disclose details of Talam Corp’s debt recovery exercise during the state assembly sitting, which begins on Monday.
Earlier today, DAP MP Tony Pua explained the debt recovery exercise during a tell-all press conference, disclosing that unlike MCA’s claim that Talam Corp had been bailed out by the state, the firm had instead been forced to repay its RM392 million debt to the state’s subsidiaries.
Talam Corp, now known as Trinity Corporation Berhad, had owed Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and Permodalan Nasional Selangor Berhad (PNSB) RM277 million as well as SAP Holdings — a subsidiary of listed company Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Berhad (KHSB) — RM115 million, equalling a total debt of RM392 million.
Pua pointed out today that the debt had been incurred during Barisan Nasional’s (BN) rule of the state and had been considered a “hidden debt” as it was never recorded in the books of the three state-linked subsidiaries.
But after Election 2008, the DAP publicity secretary said the debts were “uncovered” by the newly-elected Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government, which later immediately commenced action to recover the monies.
He explained that the state government, through the state assembly, had in November 2010 legislated MBI to handle the collection of the RM392 million that the troubled property developer firm owed to the state’s subsidiaries.
After months of “hard-nosed negotiations”, said Pua, Talam finally agreed to make a “full repayment” of RM392 million to MBI in the form of cash and assets in two tranches — one on March 12, 2010 and the second a month later on April 9.
After the second tranche, Talam Corp finally settled its RM392 million debt through a one-off RM12.7 million cash payment and the disposal of RM676 million worth of its assets. The assets had come with RM296.77 worth of encumbrances.