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Khir Toyo: I started settling Talam’s debts

 | July 26, 2012

Talam's debts with Selangor were being settled while BN was still in power, says the former menteri besar.

PETALING JAYA: The Selangor state government, according to a former menteri besar, tried to settle Talam Corporation’s debts, well before Pakatan Rakyat came up with the idea.

According to the state’s Nov 9, 2010 Hansard, former menteri besar Khir Toyo told the Selangor State Legislative Assembly that the quest to settle Talam’s debts happened when Barisan Nasional was in power.

“When I heard the explanation from Ijok (assemblyman),” he said, referring to current Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, “in truth, the takeover of Talam’s debts has happened… well before Pakatan was in power.”

“This can be verified by the [Selangor] state secretary [Ramli Mahmud] (who was serving) at the time,” he said, while debating on Selangor’s 2011 Budget.

At the time, Khir, who is also Sungai Panjang assemblyman, was Selangor’s opposition leader, a post he relinquished following a corruption charge one month later.

Khir had been the menteri besar from 2000 to 2008.

That same day, Khalid had previously replied to a query on Talam by Batu Caves-PKR assemblyman Amirudin Shari.

Today, Khir confirmed this in a phone conversation with FMT. He said that he had ordered a special committee – headed by Ramli – to be formed in order to settle the debt Talam had with Selangor.

The reason for this, he said, was because Talam’s subsidiary Maxisegar Sdn Bhd, was in bad economic shape.

“If Talam was going to wind up at the time, the danger was we could not take what Talam had owed the state.

“I smelled something was wrong with Maxisegar, so I told the (SUK) state secretariat that before this company had a problem, we better do something with what they owed us.

“For Khalid to say that we’ve never tried to settle the debts, is very unbecoming. You’re blaming the [previous] state government [for something it tried to do],” he said.

Ramli became Selangor state secretary in 2006 and was replaced by Mohd Khusrin in 2011.

Simpler process

Other officials involved in the committee, he said, included those from the State Economic Planning Unit (Upen). When asked about the committee’s membership details or when it was formed, Khir said he could not remember them off-hand.

It was previously revealed that Talam had owed Selangor a total of RM392 million, of which it was indebted to Universiti Selangor (Unisel), Permodalan Nasional Selangor Bhd (PNSB) and SAP Holdings.

Pakatan’s Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) solution was to put all the debts under one roof.

BN’s Talam debt committee, according to Khir, would settle the company’s debt with each affected subsidiary individually.

“What they’re [Pakatan] doing is very different to what the special committee was doing…The process was simpler than what we’re seeing today,” she said.

He added that it was “unusual” for Selangor to involve state-owned companies with “healthy” accounts such as PNSB and PKNS (Selangor State Development Corporation) to help manage Talam’s debt.

Khir was unable to confirm how much Talam had exactly owed the state at that time.

He said the matter would have been eventually finalised and a report tabled before the state assembly, if not for the 2008 general election, which saw the state fall into Pakatan’s hands.

“I think the committee [I had appointed] would know better,” he said.

Khir also found it strange for the Selangor government to have taken Pakatan’s approach, adding that the committee’s members remained in office even when Pakatan took over.


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