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Friday, May 14, 2010

Kapar MP refuses to drop sand-mining graft claims

Manikavasagam claims Khalid leaked the evidence to KSSB. — file pic
KSSB chief executive officer Ramli Abd Majed has denied Manikavasagam’s corruption allegations involving senior officials in KSSB yesterday.
Ramli further issued the federal lawmaker an ultimatum to retract his police report and to apologise within 48 hours, failing which the company would file a defamation suit against him.
“We’ll face it (the suit) in court,” said Manikavasagam.  ”No way I will apologise.”
The PKR MP’s refusal to yield to KSSB’s demand was the latest twist in the sand-mining corruption scandal that has engulfed the Selangor state government in recent days.
Manikavasagam had issued two ultimatums to Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, demanding for him to act against allegedly corrupt senior officials in state-owned sand mining company KSSB.
The conflict between the two leaders appeared to have been resolved after they met two days ago, with Manikavasagam lodging a police report on the matter hours after the meeting, saying Khalid had given him the green light.
Meanwhile, Khalid had announced that Selangor legislative watchdog Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) would investigate the MP’s graft allegations.
“I will not withdraw (the) police report,” said Manikavasagam, adding that he was careful to use the words “maybe” and “I believe” in his report instead of directly accusing KSSB of graft.
“I don’t trust Selcat. I don’t trust Teng Chang Khim (the Selcat chairman)… I don’t trust Tan Sri Khalid (Ibrahim),” Manikavasagam has since told The Malaysian Insider.
“Forget about Selcat. I won’t co-operate with Selcat,” he added.
The PKR political bureau member explained that he initially had doubts about Selcat’s ability to be independent in probing the graft case — allegedly worth up to RM10 million — against a government subsidiary that has the sole concession in the state’s lucrative sand mining industry.
However, Manikavasagam said he had “trusted the mentri besar” to the extent of giving him the complete set of documents supporting his graft allegations while he had only given partial documents to the police.
“This chairman of Semesta (Abdul Shukor Nagor) is under Tan Sri Khalid… he’s Tan Sri Khalid’s crony,” said Manikavasagam. “Tan Sri Khalid appointed everyone (on the KSSB board).”
He also questioned why Ramli only came to deny his allegations after he had lodged a police report yesterday, when the matter was raised last Saturday.
“Why now? That means the documents (that I gave to Khalid two days ago)… Khalid gave it to them,” he said. “The chairman [has] got all the documents.”
When asked for his response to KSSB’s call for his resignation should the company be found innocent, Manikavasagam lashed back, “Don’t ask me to resign. Not Ramli elected me, not Tan Sri Khalid elected me… [it was] the 114,000 people in my constituency who elected me, they should say [if I should leave].”
The former Selangor deputy liaison chairman spewed vitriol against Khalid, accusing him of “trying to cover up” and that he “played his cards right”. 
Given his distrust of Selcat, Manikavasagam said that he would now allow the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate. He had previously turned away attempts by the graft-busters to procure evidence related to his claims, and had cited a lack of faith in the agency.
“I got two more complaints; one from the public and one from a contractor,” he said, hinting of more twists in the sand mining saga.


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