Now, this is very worrying news about dodgy-ness in the Selangor State administration – not necessarily imputing any of the elected members of the State government but more the admin-wallahs, the State civil service bureaucracy, or to be more precise, one high official.
According to a Malaysiakini article Top state official in MB's office accused of graft, 4 outraged PKR members from the party's Kuala Selangor, Tanjong Karang and Shah Alam divisions, have reported to the ACA (and twice at that too) about the alleged corruption of a top state official who's positioned right within the MB’s office.
Surely that says a lot about the official’s top dog status.
Naturally at this stage, the identity of that State official has not been revealed, but what worries kaytee have been the two facts that (1) he is right there working with Khalid Ibrahim, and (2) the 4 PKR whistleblowers went directly to the ACA instead of informing the MB first.
In case you aren’t aware - having just returned from Mars or a cave in Tibet where you were in secluded meditation for the last 10 years ;-) - the Selangor MB is Khalid Ibrahim, a senior leader of PKR (yes, the same party as those 4 whistleblowers) as well as a close confidante and personal friend of Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of the party.
Remy Iskandar, representing the 4 PKR whistleblowers, declared he made the report "to save the image of the party" as well as the Pakatan Rakyat state government.
'... to save the image of the PKR party and the Pakatan Rakyat ...'
Very strong emotional words with all sorts of worrying subtexts ........ which has been why I am suffering from a major dose of disquiet.
But alas, he didn’t (or perhaps wouldn't) explain why the 4 haven’t gone to their State PKR leader, the MB himself. Alamak man, their very obvious omission of logical communication protocol bugs me to hell.
Indeed, why have they deliberately bypassed Khalid Ibrahim and in the process probably embarrassed him to no ends, mind you, on the matter of being caught unaware of the alleged naughtiness of the State public servant in his very own MB office.
However, Remy absolved the MB from any knowledge stating that the alleged 'irregularities' in the approval of a cleaning and rubbish collection contract in Petaling Jaya, was done without the knowledge of the MB.
And he said his group had documents to back their allegations that the top official had dodgy-ly given the contract to four companies.
Undoubtedly caught flatfooted by the PKR empat sekawan, the Selangor government went into damage control and according to Malaysiakini, "… has since responded to the allegations by welcoming an Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) probe into the case."
We all are familiar with those (in truth, grudging) words "... welcoming an ACA probe ...", which would be a typical statement by people who had the embarrassing misfortune of being caught unaware by a report of alleged corruption in their domain of governance, but reacting to that in the only possible (embarrassed) manner.
Hmmm, maybe AAB isn't the only somnambulistic pollie in Malaysia?
The MB’s representative then quickly claimed it will launch its own investigation given that the ACA has previously been slow to take action.
Now, this is the strange part which buttresses my mentioned disquiet, where Malaysiakini informed us that the Selangor state government has called upon the 4 PKR members to come forward with the lowdown on the issue, as it has its own process and procedure, enabling it to call witnesses to provide information.
This confirms that those 4 PKR whistleblowers haven't gone straight to the MB in the first place, and perhaps hadn't even bothered to inform him of the alleged corruption!
What or why have those 4 not demonstrated their confidence in Khalid Ibrahim by doing so? That's the RM64 million question!
Could it be that the State CEO has become so inaccessible even to his own party divisional leaders, perhaps because he has been surrounded by a phalanx of impenetrable Praetorian Guards?
Oh BTW, does the State government's statement "... enabling it to call witnesses to provide information ..." sound like a threat directed at those 4? Why not just a warm friendly "Dei kawan, kita member kan, mai cakap dengan ai lah"*?
* "hey buddies, we are afterall PKR mates aren't we, talk to me please"
The MB’s office has accused the ACA of being slow to take action. But there are some of us who sees Khalid Ibrahim as the ultimate slow-mo guy. He lends the impression he has been very reluctant or lacking the will and zeal (like Perak’s Nizar or Penang’s Lim GE) to tackle unpleasant issues head on.
As an example, the toll saga at Bandar Makhota Cheras (BMC) was a stark case in point where he failed abysmally to provide any leadership or strong decision making.
He was even perceived as more concerned about the company's profits than the rights of the Cheras residents.
Tony Pua of the DAP (a PKR ally), and a federal MP for PJ, was so disappointed with Khalid Ibrahim on the latter's wishy washy handling, or rather, noticeable lack of firm handling of the BMC affair, that Tony was compelled to lament publicly on his blog that:
It is critical that the new state government demonstrate political will and determination to stand for what is right and just, without fear or favour, instead of wavering in uncertainty or adopting a "we will look into it" or "we will have to discuss further" culture which is reminiscent of the previous Barisan Nasional government.
It is of great concern that Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had qualified his statement on the "right of use" by saying that the state government must also take into consideration that the toll is the source of revenue for the company.
For more, see my post Khalid Ibrahim more concerned with Toll Company's revenue than Cheras residents' rights.
For additional background reading, please read Khalid Ibrahim refuses to turun padang to Cheras.
In the absence of those qualities, namely, strong political leadership, decisiveness and a courageous commitment to the Cheras rakyat's rights, the BMC situation, with all the attendant emotions of what the rakyat had perceived as gross injustice and alleged toll fee gouging, was invariably allowed laissez faire to deteriorate into lamentable violence.
It was ironically the federal cabinet who had to step in to stop (at least temporarily) the brittle, bitter and bellicose antagonism between the aggrieved residents and the toll towkays.
And only much much much later, we learnt that the Selangor State government has a shareholder's stake in the toll company. Well ........
My worry is this - Has Khalid Ibrahim discovered that political executiveship is not exactly his cup of tea, and defaulted to what he once was, a high Brahmin (CEO) of a government (UMNO) linked company, who expects the nastiness of politics in the real world to be abracadabra-ed away by underlings without him getting his personal hands soiled ... or the need to personally turun padang?
Has he also subconsciously surrendered to what Tony Pua had succinctly described as adopting a "we will look into it" or "we will have to discuss further" culture which is reminiscent of the previous Barisan Nasional government?
Would this have been the same perception and consequential disappointment felt by those 4 PKR whistleblowers, concluding that in the end, they themselves have to report the alleged corruption directly to the ACA, rather than wait for the immovable mountain to come to them?