Written by Lam Jian Wyn, The Edge
Non-governmental organisation Research for Social Advancement (REFSA) has come to the defense of DAP Selangor executive councillors (excos) Ronnie Liu and Ean Yong Hian Wah who have been accused of misusing state allocations on the blog t4tbh.blogspot.com (Truth for Teoh Beng Hock).
The blog claims that Teoh, who died under mysterious circumstances following his interrogation at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building in Shah Alam on July 16, had evidence concerning the misuse of the allocations.
In a statement issued on Saturday, REFSA adviser Richard Yeoh dismissed the claims made against the excos as “a malicious attempt to defame members of the Selangor state exco and to mislead the public and to discredit the state leadership”.
“It is a fact that all such allocations are approved and paid by the Land Office. These payments are usually approved and signed for by the assistant district officer on behalf of the district officer. Payment is then made to the approved recipient. In the process, all payments must be properly supported by documents. Thus, in these cases, all payments are fully supported by vouchers, receipts, invoices and photographic evidence of the programme or the project concerned,” Yeoh says.
The blog has posted scanned images of allegedly lists of projects in the Sungai Pelek constituency and hand-written calculations which claim to detail the breakdown of the fund allocations.
“This system has been in place for many years and was handed down from previous Barisan Nasional administrations,” Yeoh says. “Since early this year, full details of all such payments had been posted on [Ronnie] Liu's blog with full details such as the programme dates, the amounts and cheque numbers, and the relevant receipts,” Yeoh adds.
Yeoh highlights some of the accusations in the blog, which identifies Wong Chuan How as a contractor who was a major beneficiary of projects and contracts awarded by Liu.
“Wong is in fact a special assistant to Liu and also a Sepang councilor. Some cheques were made out to him as he handled miscellaneous payments in connection with some projects and programmes. These payments are also documented and supported with receipts and vouchers which may be inspected if necessary,” Yeoh says.
He goes on to question the veracity of the claims made in the blog, stating that some of the examples on the blog were of events that went back to before March 2008, before Liu and Yong had been elected.
He also refutes a claim that funds were used to buy hampers for village chiefs in Seberang Perai as “far-fetched”, as the state land office would not approve funds for programmes outside the constituency, “let alone outside the state”.
Yeoh also dismisses claims that the DAP takes commission from all the payments as “ludicrous”.
“The amounts are paid in full to the recepients and there has been no complaint on this to date,” he says, before reiterating that the blogger had not produced proof of the allegations.
“Civil society demands that the offending blog article be withdrawn immediately and a apology be tendered to Liu and Ean Yong, failing which further action deemed fit should be taken,” he said.
Yong had lodged a police report last Sunday against the blog, and was considering filing a similar report to the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission.
It is unclear if action can be taken against the blog, as the author remains unidentified.