1. What is this matter about?
The Selangor government supposedly did an audit on my office’s community spending in March 2016, but only completed the audit report 11 months later in February 2017. The audit had six findings, all of which are minor but imply that we did not keep our records properly. The audit also made two recommendations for my office to comply with:
(a) that my office prepare an annual budget on community spending; and
(b) that my office spend more on projek kecil.
The findings did not make any allegations of misappropriation or misuse of money. As for the recommendations, they too are not onerous.
Nevertheless, my office feels strongly that the audit was improperly done without due process because the auditors did not visit out office, did not view original documents, did not ask for further documents, and did not ask for any clarification from my staff before writing the audit report.
If the findings were fair, we would not have minded as much. However, these findings were trivial, irrelevant, misdirected, and/or baseless. These findings could have been easily answered had the Selangor government auditors done a proper audit with due process. Hence, my office objects strongly to both the process of the audit and the findings of the audit.
2. What happened after that?
We wrote letters to the Selangor government which went unanswered for three months. After these three months, we gave a final 14-day notice to the Selangor government to give us a reply or we will publicly disclose the matter. The Selangor government did not give us a reply despite the final notice and as such, we disclosed the matter on Facebook on the 23rd of May 2017.
3. Shouldn’t this matter be resolved internally? Why are you washing dirty linen in public?
My office champions a lot of public policies. Transparency and accountability are the most basic principles reflected in all the public policies that we write. Unlike some politicians, I have nothing to hide; being transparent is my commitment to my constituents who elected me to office.
This matter is not a political quarrel, therefore it cannot be resolved internally through the PKR party structure. To ask the party to intervene and therefore “not wash dirty linen in public” is not only morally wrong, it is an illegal abuse of power.
This matter involves official actions of the Selangor government, and these actions are of public interest. If the Selangor government feels that their actions are justifiable, then let them defend their actions. I am not here to cover up anything for anyone. I am here to clear the good name of my office and staff, and to ensure that Kelana Jaya constituents receive their community allocations.
4. What happened after your public disclosure?
Initially, we received some good news. We finally received a letter on 30th May 2017 from the Selangor government saying that they are looking into our complaints about the audit. Therefore, we were initially very happy that our public disclosure finally got the Selangor government to reply to us.
However, in a surprising turn of events, on the 9th of June 2017, we received another letter from the Selangor government stating that it has frozen all our community spending. What is even more shocking is that one part of our community spending was apparently frozen since 12th July 2016, a year ago. Recall that the audit was only completed in February 2017; basically, the Selangor government froze one part of our community spending even before they made any findings.
5. Why did they freeze your community spending?
We have no idea. It is our opinion that the freezing of all our community spending is absurd, irrational, and without basis. Our opinion is based on the simple fact that the Selangor government’s own audit (in February 2017) did not recommend the freezing of our community spending. Therefore, to freeze our community spending four months later in June 2017 is absolutely perplexing, bordering on vindictive.
6. What do you hope to achieve?
I hope to clear the good name of my office and my staff. In particular, I hope to clear the good name of my staff who keep my community spending records, have acted professionally, and are extremely diligent in bookkeeping.
I want the Selangor government to immediately unfreeze my community spending so that we can complete our Bulan Kebajikan.
Unlike the way the 1MDB scandal is being buried from public scrutiny, I want to take the opportunity presented by this quarrel, to set a new standard on what it means to be transparent and accountable in Malaysian politics.
It is my hope that the Selangor government will take note from this episode to improve itself on how future internal audits should be conducted with due process. The Selangor government will also do well to implement more checks and balances so that arbitrary and vindictive executive decisions are eliminated.
No Member of Parliament or ADUN should be made to feel they can be subjected to arbitrary executive decisions. No Member of Parliament or ADUN in Selangor should suffer the Kafkaesque episode that my office had to go through in the last five months.
7. Who should I contact from the Selangor government for response?
For the matter of the audit, the officer in charge is Encik Mohd Redzuan bin Hasan, the State Treasurer. His contact details are as follows:
(a) Telephone number : 03-5544 7226
(b) Fax number : 03-5510 6255
For the matter of the freezing of my community spending, the officer in charge is Encik Mohd Hasry bin Nor Mohd, the Chief Assistant Financial Officer of the Selangor Treasury. His contact details are as follows:
(a) Telephone number : 03-5544 7204
(b) Fax number : 03-5518 4039