PETALING JAYA, 1 July 2009: Attempts to seek clarification about the Prime Minister’s Special Fund for parliamentarians have been futile despite several phone calls, SMSes and e-mail enquiries to the relevant officials.
Khalid Ramli (Source: isis.
org.my) The Nut Graph wrote to Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) director-general Tan Sri Khalid Ramli for a response to claims by some Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament and also a former Barisan Nasional (BN) MP that their applications to tap the fund were treated in an ad hoc manner.
However, Khalid conveyed through an aide in June that he would not reply. The Nut Graph report, Funding our MPs, was published without his comments.
The article highlighted the varying responses experienced by MPs in their requests for funds. MPs were either not told when the funds were disbursed, or were asked to seek funding from the PR-led state government, especially in a case where the MP was from PR.
A BN MP had his applications on behalf of non-Muslim houses of worship rejected, while requests for mosques were approved.
Mohamed Yakcop (Pic by Jeff Ooi;
source: Wiki commons)The ICU falls under the Prime Minister’s Department and is responsible for approving MPs’ applications. The money is disbursed to the State Development Offices (SDOs) for project implementation. SDOs are federal agencies.
Enquiries were also sent to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who oversees the ICU. To date, a week after questions were sent, no reply has been forthcoming.
An aide to Nor Mohamed said the minister, whose portfolio includes finance, was busy in meetings preparing for major policy changes on liberalising capital markets, which were announced yesterday on 30 June.
The same questions were posed to both the ICU director-general and to the minister. They were queries on:
- the ICU’s official policy when approving applications by opposition MPs;
- the official policy on applications for non-Muslim-related projects;
- the timeframe for approvals, disbursement of funds, and project implementation; and
- how the ICU ensures that there is no discrimination against opposition MPs.
Funding sources available to MPs for their constituencies is of public interest as it involves taxpayers’ money.