Wednesday, September 9, 2009


District Officer alleges BN men abused state allocations

By Neville Spykerman | The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Sept 8 — A district officer today revealed that Barisan National (BN) assemblymen under his jurisdiction had misused their state allocations ahead of the March 8 general elections last year.

Gombak District Officer Huzaini Samsi, who testified before the special select committee for competency, accountability and transparency (Selcat), also admitted that there was even a ‘possibility that the annual allocations were used for campaigning.”

He admitted it was morally wrong and extraordinary for the state lawmakers and exco members to spend their entire annual allocations in just two months.

BN state lawmakers received RM500,00 while state executive councillors received an additional RM100,000.

He said normal monthly expenditure only amounts to between RM20,000 and RM50,000 but during the general elections the lawmakers maximise their expenditure.’

“They try and spend as much as possible before the general elections.”

Huzaini, who became the Gombak District Officer in 2007, gave a candid account of how there was virtually no accountability and safeguards on how previous BN assemblyman spent their annual allocations.

He was the second witness to testify at the first of the public inquiry into how state allocations are spent by state law makers by the previous and current administrations.

Huzaini, who is in charge of overseeing allocations to six constituencies, said it was his personal opinion that lawmakers were entitled to the allocations while his office merely tried its best to ensure applications are approved with minimum delay.

He said assemblymen would call his office to expedite applications for funds but he initially denied there was any direct pressure to approve.

"We usually just approve all applications because we want to avoid confrontation," he said, adding that they were frequently caught in a difficult position.

“We are wrong if we approve and wrong if we don’t.”

Huzaini said normal applications for funds are approved within two weeks but state lawmakers would often asked for applications to be processed and funds to be issued earlier.

However he was stumped when shown the spending patterns of previous BN assemblymen whose constituency are under his jurisdiction.

The previous Batu Caves lawmaker for instance made 90 applications amounting to almost RM500,000 on February 12 last year and all the funds were paid out within 9 days.

“Fantastic, I did not know my staff could work so hard,” said Huzaini.

He also could not explain how RM70,000 in cash was paid out to one individual.

Another example shown was that of the Paya Jaras state constituency, where 165 applications amounting to RM504,500 were made between January 17 and February 1, 2008.

The entire amount was paid to a single individual.

Huzaini also confirmed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had recently raided the Gombak land office but said he did not know if they were checking only on the files of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers or the previous BN assemblymen

Earlier Petaling District Officer Datuk Zulkepli Ahmad was at a loss to explain how approval for state allocations for BN lawmakers was given even after the state assembly was dissolved and even after the new PR state government was sworn-in.

Both Huzaini and Zulkepli requested for time to check their records. Huzaini is scheduled to return on Friday while Zulkepli requested two weeks.

Meanwhile Selcat chairman Teng Chang Khim said all nine District Officers will be called along with other necessary witnesses during the inquiry which will continue until September 14.

He said any current and previous state lawmakers who wish to clarify or dispute the testimony of the officers can come forward and testify during the public inquiry.

“They can contact the secretariat of the state legislative assembly and arrangements will be made for them.”

Now we know why Najib wants Selangor back in BN hands!

[Selcat pics courtesy of Hannah Yeoh, sourced from Malaysiakini]