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• Selangor Government to seek legal advice on Balkis
• ‘RM9.9mil belongs to Balkis’
PETALING JAYA: Questions are being asked whether it was correct for the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) to transfer out the RM9.9mil it had in its coffers a few days after the state fell to the Opposition.
Defending the money transfer, then president Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik said she
had the legal right because her husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was still
the caretaker Selangor Mentri Besar at that time.
Dr Mohd Khir said the money was “temporarily transferred” to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) to ensure the money would be spent according to Balkis' purpose, namely for the welfare of children.
The state government, however, is questioning the transfer of the money and seeking legal advice. It has also asked the Registrar of Societies to put on hold the dissolution of Balkis, which the committee, led by Zahrah, also unanimously decided to do.
The Bar Council is of the opinion that Balkis' action could be tantamount to criminal breach of trust.
Selangor Government to seek legal advice on Balkis affair
PETALING JAYA: The Selangor Government will seek legal advice on the controversy involving the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) and its funds.
Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, the political secretary to Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, said the MB did not want to make any further statement on the matter as the state was currently consulting its lawyers.
“We are looking into the legal aspects of the application to dissolve Balkis and also the transfer of its funds before we decide on the next course of action,” he said, adding that the state would take legal action against the organisation’s office bearers if there was any wrongdoing.
In the meantime, the state government has asked the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to ignore the application to disband Balkis made by its previous president Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik, the wife of former Selangor MB Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.
The state government said in a statement on Thursday that Balkis made the application following a decision during an emergency meeting held on March 11.
It argued that Zahrah could not hold office after the March 8 general election as Dr Khir was no longer MB.
It said that the organisation’s constitution clearly stated that the president had to be the Selangor MB's wife and after the Barisan Nasional lost the state, Zahrah did not have the right to represent Balkis or make the application, and even her right to chair the emergency meeting was questionable.
The state government also felt that disbanding Balkis under such circumstances was against the spirit behind its formation in 1985 to help the needy, provide ideas to the government on welfare issues and help Malaysians of all races and religions.
The statement said a Balkis official had informed the state government that RM9.9mil was moved from the organisation to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti).
It said the MB's office had also been informed that part of the funds under Balkis came from state–owned companies like Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd which contributed over RM268,000 last year and the Selangor State Development Corporation which contributed more than RM590,000 in 2006 and 2007.
“The state government, therefore, is asking the ROS not to approve the application (to disband Balkis) until the contributions from all the state–owned companies have been ascertained,” the statement continued.
The state government said that it and all its companies would soon request that all contributions made to Balkis be returned, as the organisation was only acting as a trustee for the funds that were to be used for welfare purposes.
Bar Council vice–chairman Ragunath Kesavan said the Anti–Corruption Agency (ACA) must investigate Balkis for removing almost RM9.9mil from its bank account.
“There is a potential criminal breach of trust (element) or corruption, therefore the ACA must act fast. The money belongs to the association members, not to the office bearers.
“There are rules and regulations to be followed under the Registrar of Societies,” he said.
‘RM9.9mil belongs to Balkis’
PETALING JAYA: The RM9.9mil in the bank account of the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) belonged to it. And Balkis was within its rights to hand the money over to another organisation.
This is the stand of the president of the organisation at that time, Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik.
“We have sought legal advice and our lawyers advised us on the options available – either to put the money with any organisation or give it to the state.
“After some deliberations, we decided to give the money to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti),” Zahrah said yesterday.
The money was moved after a March 11 emergency meeting of Balkis, just days after the state government fell to the Pakatan Rakyat.
The current Selangor government is questioning the legality of the transfer of the funds.
Zahrah’s husband and former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo said the organisation consulted its auditors and legal adviser before making the transfer and there was no “hanky–panky involved”.
Zahrah added that Balkis had decided to channel the money to Bakti because the two organisations have similar objectives.
She said the organisation’s constitution allowed for the money to be transferred to the state government or another entity with similar structure and charity orientation like Balkis – provided the recipient is recognised by the director–general of the Inland Revenue Board.
“Balkis was formed by wives of Barisan Nasional elected representatives who wanted to do something for the underprivileged.
“Now that Selangor is ruled by the opposition coalition, the members felt they could no longer serve effectively and that the organisation should be dissolved,” said Zahrah, adding that she chaired the March 11 meeting in her capacity as Balkis president.
“Balkis members worked hard to raise the RM9.9mil through various fund–raising activities over the years. The money is used to help the underprivileged groups in the state.
“All income, expenditure and contributions are clearly documented. Balkis members are proud of our work for the poor, we will never take what does not belong to us,” she said.
She said the wives of elected representatives under Khalid’s administration could also establish a similar organisation if they too desired to help the poor.
Dr Khir said the association was unsure if Khalid’s government would want to go on with the programmes already in place, or use the money for similar intentions,
He said the money was transferred to Bakti with the condition that those under Balkis’ Poor Students’ Aid Programme would continue to receive the aid.
“There was some worry after Pakatan Rakyat won the state that the new government might remove some of the students from the list (of recipients) and the poor students would not be able to continue their studies,” he said.
Dr Khir said the money was also used to fund a shelter home for women in Section 7, Shah Alam.
“The movement may want to establish a new association. The new association will be headed by Puan Sri Asbi Rohani Asnan, in her capacity as the wife of Selangor Umno chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib,” he said.