Selangor MB defends acquisition of Talam debts

SHAH ALAM: Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has defended the move to buy out debts owed by Talam Corp Bhd to several state agencies, saying it was a state matter.

Khalid, who described the decision made on Talam as a "financial and technical issue", said it was discussed and deliberated thoroughly at all levels, including within Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

"I think the Talam issue is a state matter in the first place, which requires a certain level of detailing to understand the reason behind the whole process [acquisition of debts]," Khalid told reporters after chairing the weekly exco meeting at the State Secretariat building near here on Nov 18.

An English daily carried a report on its front page on Nov 18, quoting PKR secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim as saying, among other things, that Khalid did not consult PKR over the acquisition of debts by Talam Corp Bhd from state subsidiaries. It was reported that Salehuddin had emailed some PKR elected representatives to demand an explanation as the party [PKR] had been "kept in the dark" over the buyover of the company's debts.

On Nov 16, the Selangor State Assembly agreed to approve an additional budget of RM392 million to Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) to buy the debts of Talam Corp Bhd, with the state government.

Khalid said the grant would enable MBI to buy Talam's debts worth RM392 million with the state government and consequently, allow it to take over the debt collection of Talam from the three subsidiaries of the state, namely Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd, Permodalan Negri Selangor Bhd and Yayasan Pendidikan Selangor.

He also dismissed speculation that the debt buy-out would incur additional costs, including consultancy charges that could profit some quarters.

"There is no consultant. I am the consultant. I am the one who initiated the move and I am not charging the state anything," he said, adding that any additional cost would be for legal, taxes and banking charges.

Meanwhile, state executive councillor Teresa Kok stressed the decision to buy over Talam's debts was a collective one made at the executive council-level and all Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen in the state were briefed on the matter during the state assembly sitting which ended on Nov 17. -- Bernama
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