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Talam debate: No Khalid, only commotion

 | September 12, 2012

Pakatan Rakyat reps were not allowed to debate with MCA's Chua Tee Yong over the Talam matter, and walked out.

BANDAR TUN RAZAK: A public debate between MCA and the Selangor state government over the Talam matter failed to materialise after opposition leaders were stopped from participating.

Originally intended for an 8:30pm launch at the International Youth Centre, it was supposed to see MCA-Labis MP Chua Tee Yong go toe-to-toe with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

With Khalid out of the country however, four were appointed to represent him in his stead, including three Pakatan MPs and his political secretary, Faekah Husin.

The three MPs were DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, PKR-Selayang MP William Leong and PAS-Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad.

With Khalid absent, the debate’s organiser MCA allegedly told the four that they could not represent the menteri besar.

This led them, and their hundred-plus supporters, to leave the hall, but not before they were booed by the 400-strong MCA crowd. Some even carried banners that said: “Where are you, Khalid?”

A small commotion broke out between the two, but was quickly defused.

Later, four people were arrested by police officers present, after a random check revealed that they had been carrying retractable batons. They were taken to the Cheras police station.

Political excuse

In a later press conference, the Pakatan reps expressed dismay with the alleged refusal.

Said Pua: “We were not allowed to debate tonight, so we didn’t feel that it was necessary to be at the hall… It shows that MCA and Chua just want to use the debate as a political excuse.”

He added that it was not right for Khalid to debate with Chua, as the MCA leader was not on equal footing with the MB.

“I will not debate [Prime Minister] Najib. Only [Opposition Leader] Anwar can debate Najib…We must find our level,” he said.

Faekah said that if she was allowed to debate tonight, she would have revealed the contents of KPMG’s recently-drafted audit report on the Talam affair.

“I came with the audit report from KPMG to read [the points] one by one. I was going to read on each and every account and proof of procedure,” she said.

She added that MCA had yet to prove that the Selangor state government bailed Talam Corporation out with RM1 billion of state funds.

“What makes you think that we will give benefits to the MCA crony (and Talam Corporation boss) Chan Ah Chye?” she growled.

Asked later on Khalid whereabouts, she said that Khalid was on a “RM5 billion trade mission investment” in Bangkok, and was there since this morning. He would be coming back tomorrow.

Chua wants Khalid, not others

In another press conference, Chua was similarly disappointed with Pakatan’s walkout, and preferred that they would have stayed even in Khalid’s absence.

Even so, he was adamant on debating with Khalid, even if it meant he would have to do so at his constituency, Labis.

“Those in charge of Menteri Besar Incorporated,” he said, referring to the state body that handled the Talam affair, “involves the MB, not Tony Pua. So why isn’t he (Khalid) answering?”

“They say they’re appointed, but I want to get the MB, as he would know [about Talam] from A to Z….If the MB is coming [to debate in] Labis, I will be there.”

He also questioned the KPMG’s audit report, adding that the state had yet to answer on whether it was an audit, advisory or review.

In July, Chua started on several exposes against the Selangor state government, claiming that the administration had used RM1 billion to bail out Talam Corporation Berhad.

He claimed that Selangor had done so via a RM392 million supplementary budget passed in the state’s legislative assembly in 2009.

Chua added that the state bought an additional RM676 million worth of assets from Talam.

Both Pakatan and the state vehemently denied these claims, and have since appointed independent audit firms to check the Talam matter in a show of transparency.


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