Good morning. It is 10 am and as promised yesterday, I am releasing a full disclosure report on a matter that has been upsetting and annoying my office for the last three and a half months.
In short, my office was audited by the Selangor government under mysterious circumstances in May 2016 but the report was only delivered to my office nine months later in February 2017. The audit was done without due process, fairness, or natural justice. It is also my opinion that the findings are also absolutely baseless. Despite repeated letters, my office was then stonewalled for three and the months by the Selangor government authorities.
Many of you are aware that I don’t have a particularly good relationship with the Selangor administration. I have spoken out vocally on DEIG and also on asset declaration matters. I admit that I have many personal faults; I am not particularly patient and am extremely blunt with my views. But being corrupt or running a disorganised office are not some of them. I would like to continue to believe that the audit was done without mala fide.
This very long disclosure is made for public record purposes and to defend the good reputation of my staff and my office.
START OF REPORT
1. The Selangor State Treasury audited my office accounts in May 2016 and sent a copy of the audit findings to my office on 8th February 2017. The findings allege that my office had failed to follow some guidelines.
2. In arriving at the audit findings, at all material times the Selangor State Treasury made no attempt whatsoever to inform us, visit my office, or seek any clarifications from my staff. The audit was done mysteriously and without due process and natural justice.
3. My office immediately challenged the audit findings and provided a point by point rebuttal and also 4,000 pages of documents. My office also wrote 4 letters to the Selangor government authorities, all of which remain unanswered.
4. On 8th May 2017, after receiving no action and no reply to my letters, my office issued a notice to the Selangor State Treasury that if it fails to either (a) retract the audit findings, or (b) conduct a fair and proper audit within 14 days, I will go public on the matter to defend the honour of my staff and my office.
5. The Selangor State Treasury failed to provide my office a reply despite the 14 days notice given and as such I am making this full public disclosure on the dispute.
6. My office reserves the right to pursue all legal avenues against the Selangor State Treasury including filing a complaint to the Selangor Public Accounts Committee and/or the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency.
Report Title: Full Disclosure on our Dispute with the Selangor Government’s Audit Findings
1.1 As a Selangor Member of Parliament, I am given a grant by the Selangor State Government of RM250,000 a year to spend on my constituents.
1.2 This RM250,000 budget goes through an administrative process involving the Petaling District and Land Office (Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah Petaling).
1.3 For every Ringgit we spend, my office will prepare all the documents and send them to the Petaling District and Land Office. The Petaling District and Land Office will then inspect if the documents are in order and if they are satisfied, they will issue us a cheque in the name of the recipient. When we receive the cheque, we will then contact and give the recipient the cheque and get him/her to sign off a receipt voucher.
1.4 In short, the administration of our community spending is tightly supervised by the Petaling District and Land Office.
1.5 The Petaling District and Land Office in turn is responsible to the Selangor State Treasury (Perbendaharaan Negeri Selangor) to keep proper records of all documents.
2.0 Timeline and Facts
2.1 The Selangor State Treasury in a letter dated 2nd February 2017 addressed to the Petaling District and Land Office attached an audit report of the 2014 and 2015 spending of my P104 Kelana Jaya office. A copy of the letter and attached audit report was delivered to my office on 8th February 2017.
2.2 In the said 2nd February letter, the Selangor State Treasury stated that they did an audit on my office on 1st to 3rd May 2016. The audit report was only prepared and sent to the Petaling District and Land Office nine months after the audit took place.
2.3 At all material times, my office was not aware of the audit. The Selangor State Treasury made no attempt to inform us, visit my office, or seek any clarifications from my staff. The audit was done mysteriously and without due process and natural justice.
2.4 Until today, I have no idea how or in what manner the Selangor State Treasury carried out the audit; presumably they must have visited the Petaling District and Land Office.
2.5 However on 27th February 2017, in order to get to the bottom of this mystery audit, I had a meeting with Dato’ Haji Mohd Misri, the District Officer of the Petaling District and Land Office, together with his finance officer. Both also had no idea how the audit was conducted as they have no recollection whatsoever of any such audit visit to their office by the Selangor State Treasury.
2.6 Despite the continuing mystery of how the audit actually took place on 1st to 3rd March 2016, my main quarrel with the Selangor State Treasury is essentially over its audit findings.
2.7 While the audit report admonished the Petaling District and Land Office and is not directed at my office (I was merely informed of the fact via carbon copy), the audit findings clearly state that my office had somehow failed to follow state government guidelines and that the Petaling District and Land Office should take two actions against my office: (a) to compel my office to prepare a budget proposal; and (b) to compel my office to spend more money on small projects.
2.8 There are absolutely no allegations of misappropriation or corrupt practices in the audit findings. However I still felt strongly that my office has been denied natural justice and the right to be heard regarding the audit findings of not complying with guidelines.
2.9 In fact, we strongly object to all the audit findings, which in our opinion, some are completely baseless and some can be clarified easily by asking my staff and requesting for documents. Instead of carrying out a proper, transparent and fair audit, this mystery audit rushed to findings without due process to paint an untrue picture of my office’s administration.
2.10 My office keeps a meticulous filing system and we data-entry every single file of our spending; and because of the system we implemented, we could immediately extract the files, analyse them, and give a point by point rebuttal reply to all the audit findings. So on the very same day we received the audit report (8th February 2017), my office was able to issue a full written reply refuting all the Selangor State Treasury audit findings.
2.11 In addition, upon the request from the Petaling District and Land Office, my officers on 24th February 2017 delivered approximately 4,000 pages of documents relating to our 2014 and 2015 accounts. We were told that the Selangor State Treasury had requested the Petaling District and Land Office to obtain these documents from my office.
2.12 At that point in late February 2017, I was led to believe that a follow-up audit will be made by the authorities, and I was quietly confident that my office will be fully absolved after delivering concise arguments and backing up the same with 4,000 pages of documents.
2.13 However in early May 2017, a few party members contacted me, asking me if everything is okay with my community budget. They had heard political rumours in the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) channels that my community budget has been suspended (absolutely untrue) because my office had failed an audit! They urged me to go public to put a quick end to the malicious rumour.
2.14 On 8th May 2017, exactly three months after I received the audit report, I issued a notice to the Selangor State Treasury, asking them to give me a written reply within 14 days and to take either action: (a) to absolve my office of their earlier audit findings; or (b) promptly conduct a full and proper audit in my office, in the presence of my staff. Failing a reply, I notified the Selangor State Treasury that I will publicly disclose everything I have on this matter.
2.15 The notice deadline passed yesterday (22nd May 2017) at 5.00 p.m.
2.16 In fact, during this entire three-and-a-half-month episode, I have written four letters to the authorities on this matter and received not a single official reply. I am not sure what the Selangor Government protocol is when it comes to replying to letters from Members of Parliament from Selangor, but this stonewalling attitude is highly unprofessional and disappointing, to say the least.
2.17 If the Selangor government is unwilling to do the right thing, then I am called upon to defend the honour of my diligent and professional staff and the office of Parlimen Kelana Jaya through this disclosure.
2.18 Before releasing this, I had briefed PKR party leaders in an official political bureau meeting on 16th May 2017 of my intended actions. On 21st May 2017, I also met Y.A.B. Azmin Ali and had briefed him on the same matter.
3.0 Audit Findings and our Rebuttal
3.1 The following table details the six audit findings of the Selangor State Treasury and my office’s point by point rebuttal of the same, contained in my 8th February 2017 letter.
Bil. Penemuan Bahagian Pengurusan Audit Maklumbalas
Penemuan 1. Perhatian kurang di beri kepada perbelanjaan untuk projek-projek kecil pembangunan di mana tiada perbelanjaan yang dibuat untuk projek kecil pembangunan bagi tahun 2014 dan hanya sebanyak 4% dari jumlah yang disalurkan pada tahun 2015.
Pejabat saya hanya menerima surat pekeliling mengarah kami membelanjakan 30% daripada peruntukan kami bagi tujuan pembangunan projek-projek kecil pada akhir tahun 2015.
Berikutan itu, pejabat saya telah membelanjakan peruntukan tahun 2016 kami selaris dengan garis panduan surat pekeliling tersebut serta nasihat daripada pihak Tuan/Puan. Maka bagi peruntukan 2014 dan 2015, kekurangan projek-projek kecil bukan satu kesalahan mengikut garis panduan pihak kerajaan negeri.
Untuk pengetahuan pihak Tuan/Puan, pejabat saya berpendapat bahawa pelaksanaan pembangunan projek-projek kecil hanya memperkaya pihak kontraktor dan proses tendernya memakan tenaga kerja dan masa yang berharga. Pada tahun 2015, pejabat saya telah melaksanakan kerja-kerja membina susur tangga dan kerja baik puli di Desa Mentari. Pejabat saya telah melakukan proses tender terperinci dengan bantuan pihak arkitek dari Clement Wong Architecture dan JUMB yang telah mengambil masa lama untuk memproses tender tersebut.
Kami juga berpendapat bahawa pembangunan projek-projek kecil hanya mendatangkan faedah minima kepada masyarakat. Oleh kerana kawasan Parlimen Kelana Jaya mempunyai lebih kurang 40,000 orang miskin tegar, kami berpendapat bahawa projek kecil tidak diperlukan bagi tahun 2015 dan 2016 dan pengagihan bantuan kebajikan kepada golongan ini mendatangkan manfaat yang lebih ketara dalam usaha meringankan beban kewangan mereka.
Penemuan 2. Sumbangan kemsyarakatan secara tunai merupakan perbelanjaan tertinggi bagi tahun 2014 (RM239,422) dan 2015 (RM306,550) di mana sumbangan kemasyarakatan yang tertinggi kepada individu yang memerlukan bantuan kewangan seperti rakyat miskin, warga emas, anak yatim, ibu tunggal, dan orang kurang upaya dengan bantuan kewangan yang tertinggi pada tahun 2014 dan 2015 adalah daripada penduduk di kawasan Desa Mentari.
Jawapan: Untuk pengetahuan pihak Tuan/Puan, Desa Mentari, Desa Ria, dan Kampung Lindungan merupakan kawasan perumahan miskin bandar di konsituensi Parlimen Kelana Jaya. Konstituensi saya mempunyai lebih kurang 40,000 orang miskin tegar daripada kawasan-kawasan tersebut.
Demi meringankan beban ekonomi golongan ini, pejabat saya mengendalikan bulan kebajikan setiap tahun.
Penemuan 3. Terdapat enam puluh lapan (68) orang penerima telah menerima bantuan kewangan tunai bagi dua (2) tahun berturut iaitu tahun 2014 dan 2015 dengan jumlah keseluruhan RM74,000.
Jawapan: Kami telah menerima sebanyak 239 permohonan pada tahun 2014 dan 291 permohonan pada tahun 2015. Kami telah meneliti kes-kes 68 orang penerima tersebut dan telah mengambil keputusan untuk memberi bantuan kewangan pada tahun 2015 memandangkan situasi ekonomi mereka tidak berubah ataupun telah bertambah teruk sejak tahun 2014.
Kami juga tidak diberi nasihat ataupun garis panduan bahawa pemberian bantuan kewangan secara dua berturut tidak digalakkan. Sekiranya terdapat garis panduan tersebut, kami ingin meminta jasa baik pihak Tuan/Puan untuk mengemukakan surat pekekeliling yang berkenaan.
Penemuan 5. Sepanjang tempoh tahun 2014 dan 2015 secar keseluruhannya Pusat Khidmat P104 Kelana Jaya hanya membelanjakan sejumlah RM24,743 untuk program dan aktiviti mesra rakyat.
Jawapan: Untuk pengetahuan pihak Tuan/Puan, kami tidak menerima nasihat ataupun garis panduan rasmi mengenai perbelanjaan bagi tujuan program dan aktiviti mesra rakyat.
Seperti yang sedia maklum, konstituensi Parliment Kelana Jaya mempunyai kira-kira 40,000 orang miskin tegar. Sehubungan itu, pejabat saya tidak menjalankan sebarang majlis atau jamuan makan supaya peruntukan bantuan kewangan golongan miskin tegar dapat dimaksimumkan.
Kami sepejabat berpendapat bahawa membelanjakan peruntukan kerajaan negeri bagi tujuan majlis atau jamuan makan tidak berfaedah dan bermoral, lebih-lebih lagi memandangkan kawasan Parlimen Kelana Jaya mempunyai golongan miskin bandar yang terlalu ramai.
Penemuan 6. Pusat Khidmat P104 Kelana Jaya tidak pernah mewujudkan rekupman untuk tujuan sumbangan kecemasan bagi tahun 2014 dan 2015.
Jawapan: Pejabat saya tidak pernah menerima nasihat ataupun garis panduan mengenai perbelanjaan bagi rekupmen untuk tujuan sumbangan kecemasan.
Isu tentang pembayaran sumbangan kecemasan pihak penduduk perlu datang ke pejabat saya meminta bantuan daripada kami. Sepanjang tahun 2014 dan 2015, tiada penduduk yang telah datang meminta bantuan tersebut.
Untuk pengetahuan Tuan/Puan, pejabat saya buka pada hari Isnin hingga Jumaat dari 10.00 pagi hingga 5.00 petang, dan pada hari Isnin malam dari pukul 8.00 malam hingga 10.00 malam.
Berikut pula adalah penjelasan daripada pejabat saya mengenai setiap penemuan bawah Bilangan 4 sebagaimana yang tertera di Jadual 5 menurut surat pihak Bahagian Audit Dalam Pejabat Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri Selangor:
1,2 Sumbangan kebajikan tiada dokumen lengkap (hanya disertakan dengan salinan kad pengenalan individu).
Jawpan: Kedua-dua penerima, Puan Kamala a/p Manickam dan Encik Balakrishnan a/l Karuppiah, adalah golongan miskin tegar warga emas. Oleh itu, dokumen yang dapat dikemukakan hanyalah salinan kad pengenalan individu mereka. Menurut kad pengenalan mereka, Puan Kamala dan Encik Balakrishnan masing-masing berusia 68 dan 70 tahun pada 2015.
Sepanjang tahun 2014, 2015, dan awal 2016, pihak Tuan/Puan hanya memerlukan Borang A serta salinan kad pengenalan pemohon untuk permohonan pengeluaran peruntukan sumbangan. Pada pertengahan tahun 2016, pihak Tuan/Puan telah menghubungi pejabat saya dan memaklumkan kami bahawa salinan buku akaun bank pemohon juga diperlukan. Berikutan itu, pejabat kami telah mula menghantar permohonan-permohonan peruntukan sumbangan selaris dengan syarat-syarat dan garis panduan pihak Tuan/Puan.
3,4 Pemberian sumbangan diberikan kepada dua (2) orang penerima untuk satu permohonan (dokumen sokongan permohonan daripada Batma Pushani Ayawu bertarikh 13/6/2014)
Jawapan: Untuk pengetahuan pihak Tuan/Puan, Puan Batma Pushani a/p Awawu dan Cik Stella Philomena Michael adalah penduduk miskin bandar di Desa Mentari. Tambahan pula mereka sedang menjalankan aktiviti sukarelawan iaitu sebuah pusat tuisyen bukan untung bagi kanak-kanak Tahun 1 hingga Tingkatan 3. Mereka mempunyai kira-kira 45 orang murid. Puan Batma Pushani dan Cik Stella biasanya mengagihkan urusan pengajaran dan tadbir urus murid-murid mereka.
5, 6, 7 Sumbangan kepada Pertubuhan Bukan Kerajaan dibayar atas nama seseorang individu.
Jawpan: Untuk kes ini, pejabat saya telah dimaklumkan oleh wakil-wakil Kuil bahawa mereka tidak mempunyai bank akaun. Oleh itu, kami telah memproseskan permohonan tersebut
Kami juga telah diberitahu bahawa pihak Tuan/Puan fahama bajawa tiada bank akain dan boleh mengeluarkan cek atas nama individued-inidivdu tersebut. Sekiranya terdapat garis panduan baharu, kami ingin meminta jasa baik pihak Tuan/Puan untuk mengemukan surat pekekeliling yang berkenaan.
3.2 In audit findings no.1, the Selangor State Treasury concluded that my office did not spend on “projek kecil” in 2014 and 2015 and therefore my office had failed to comply with the Selangor government guidelines. While it is true that we abhor and did minimal spending on projek kecil in 2014 and 2015, we most definitely did not break any Selangor government guidelines. The Selangor State Treasury obviously has no clue about its own guidelines at the material time of this audit (period 2014 and 2015). For the period 2014 and 2015, the Selangor government guidelines clearly give discretion to all MPs and ADUNS to do or not to do projek kecil. The Selangor government’s new practice of mandatory projek kecil was only issued via a circular in December 2015 (outside the audit period). This audit finding is therefore completely flawed and baseless.
3.3 In audit findings no.2, the Selangor State Treasury is inexplicably upset that I focused most of my financial help on the poor and needy from the Desa Mentari area. This finding can be easily explained by the fact that my poorest constituents in the entire Kelana Jaya Parliamentary constituency are from the Desa Mentari area. This audit findings no.2 is so obviously inane and could have been clarified by asking my staff or a visit to Desa Mentari by the mysterious audit team. I mean, why would I provide welfare aid to people staying in the middle class suburbs of Subang Jaya? There is absolutely no Selangor government guideline that states that we cannot focus our welfare aid to a geographical zone.
3.4 In audit finding no.3, the Selangor State Treasury is again inexplicably upset that we gave financial aid to 68 poor individuals in 2014 and again to the same individuals again in 2015. This finding can be easily explained by the fact that all 68 individuals were poor and desperate in 2014 and they remained poor and desperate in 2015. There is absolutely no Selangor government guideline that states that we cannot help the same poor people, once every year.
3.5 In audit finding no.4, the Selangor State Treasury complained about the lack of supporting documentation of two recipients, why we made payments to two persons involved in the Sister Stella tuition centre, and why three Indian temples have no bank accounts. We extracted all the files to the seven recipients and provided full explanation on the circumstances regarding all seven recipients. The mysterious audit team could have easily engaged my office to seek clarification before making this audit finding. All seven recipients were in fact vetted through and cleared by the Petaling District and Land Office. This finding is clearly not an issue of guidelines but an administrative matter between the Selangor State Treasury and the Petaling District and Land Office.
3.6 In audit finding no.5, the Selangor State Treasury complained I spent too little on “mesra rakyat” activities. Program “mesra rakyat” primarily focuses on spending on food and drinks for festivities like Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya and Christmas. The reason why we abhor spending public money on both “mesra rakyat” and “projek kecil” is that ultimately these programs will enrich contractors, caterers and event managers. In fact, my office is proud that we do minimal spending on “mesra rakyat” because these programs serve only to inflate the ego of politicians, are absolutely wasteful and can be better used for helping the poor and needy. The bottom line is my office did not break any Selangor government guidelines on spending minimally on “mesra rakyat” simply because there are no guidelines that state that we have to spend a specific amount on it.
3.7 In audit finding no.6, the Selangor State Treasury is inexplicably upset that we did not make emergency payments during the years 2014 and 2015. The answer to this extremely bizarre query is very simple, we did not receive any requests for emergency payments for the said two years. That is a fact. If nobody in my constituency asks for emergency payment because his house burnt down, how can my office be blamed for not making “emergency” payments. Again I stress that there is absolutely no Selangor government guideline that states that we must make or even manufacture emergency payments.
3.8 The above rebuts every single finding of the Selangor State Treasury audit report. Over this three and half months period, my office has been repeatedly denied a basic right to be heard and to present our above arguments. I have also been advised by both my lawyers and auditors, that these six audit findings contains elements of mala fide and that I should seriously consider seeking legal recourse if the Selangor government fails to right this wrong immediately.
4.1 This disclosure is intended to put public pressure on the Selangor State Treasury to take appropriate actions to either: (a) accept my arguments and retract the findings of their audit; or (b) to conduct a new audit and giving my office a fair and proper hearing.
4.2 The political intention of this disclosure is also to put a stop to the malicious rumours that are damaging the good reputation of my staff and my office.
4.3 Most importantly, it is my hope that this disclosure will also help develop better audit processes that adhere to basic principles of fairness and natural justice, for the Selangor State Treasury.
4.4 Depending on the next course of action or inaction by the Selangor State Treasury, my office reserves the right to pursue this matter against the Selangor State Treasury by all legal means available, including but not limited to filing a complaint to the Selangor Public Accounts Committee and/or the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency.
END OF REPORT