PKR man backs probe into FT ministry welfare arm

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil.

PETALING JAYA: Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil has backed the need for an investigation into the federal territories (FT) ministry’s welfare arm, Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP), following claims of conflict of interest.

He was referring to accusations by Kuala Lumpur residents who said the FT minister should not chair YWP, and that YWP is not a government agency but a company incorporated under the Companies Act.

They also claim that YWP owns the land on which proposed projects will take place.

“These are serious allegations which warrant investigation,” Fahmi said when met at PKR’s launch of festive packets for Hari Raya here today.

He added that changes should be made to YWP’s business model, given the scope of its work and the development projects it is involved in.

“No briefings have been given to Kuala Lumpur MPs yet. We only know how YWP is currently operating.

“We have asked what the next step is. At the moment, we are just giving the minister some time to figure it out and present it to the Kuala Lumpur MPs.”

Several residents’ associations in Kuala Lumpur recently cried foul over conflict of interest, saying FT Minister Khalid Samad is also chairman of YWP and retains power under the FT Planning Act to overrule the Kuala Lumpur mayor on planning issues.

Fahmi said YWP should be seen for what it is: “the equivalent of MBIs (Menteri Besar Incorporated) in a lot of other states”.

“But because FTs don’t have that kind of instrument, they have to rely on YWP,” he added.

On YWP’s business model, he said the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) also understands that it does not have much land left.

“(If I’m not mistaken) the land bank, there is only a handful left for DBKL. They cannot monetise that (anymore),” he said.

This means that DBKL, too, must change its business model to generate revenue, he added.

On calls to bring back local elections or the third vote with regards to voting for the Kuala Lumpur mayor, Fahmi said it was more important to first address basic awareness of democracy on the ground.

“For now, I believe that we should keep the FT ministry, at least for this term and until we get to (bring back) the third vote.

“We can have a third vote, but it won’t mean much if the people fail to understand its value,” he said.

The call to bring back the third vote was mooted by Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin who said she would propose a model for local council elections to the Cabinet by 2021.

This was in response to calls by civil society groups to revive local elections following the May 9 polls last year.