Friday, May 30, 2008

Explain how RM8mil was spent, Perak asks former state govt - The Star

IPOH: May 30, 2008 By HAH FOONG LIAN

Perak wants the previous state government to explain how this year's RM8mil development fund had been spent in less than three months.

State senior executive council (exco) member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said the government was shocked at the way the fund, meant for small projects, had been spent.

"We discovered that the entire sum was spent before or during the March 8 general election," Ngeh said Friday at a press conference.

The fund, he said, was made up of an allocation of RM75,000 to each Barisan state assemblyman and an additional of RM100,000 given to each state exco member.

"The total sum was RM8mil and it was spent in less than three months," he added.

"The people are suspicious that they were spent on election purposes. We are not accusing them yet but we want them to clarify," Ngeh said.

"I want (former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad) Tajol Rosli (Ghazali) and other former exco members, who are now assemblymen, to clarify the matter in order to be fair to the people," he said.

Urging the previous state government to itemise the expenditure and name the amount spent, Ngeh said:

"This is a clear case of bad management. The allocation is intended for the whole year but it was spent within less than three months. Has it been spent for political purposes?"

The previous government should immediately write to the state or announce the matter in the media so that the people can verify the expenditure, he said.

State Education, Local Government Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming, who was also present at the media briefing said:

"This is extraordinary and we are suspicious. The people have the right to know."

When asked if there were any statements or receipts in the Government's record on the spending of the RM8mil, Nga said:

"Let them show first. They've spent the money so they must show. That is not a logical question. Why ask us to show?"

Ngeh explained that the local people could cross-check the spending.

"For example, if an item was tagged at RM20,000 but it could be worth only RM3,000. The public could scrutinise," he added.

Exco member Zainuddin Mohd Yusof, who was also present, said the normal procedure in the disbursement of public expenditure should be apportioned according to the time of the year.

"It should be spread out over the year. You don't spend all in the first quarter of the year. This is very questionable," he added.

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