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Apr 30, 2008

Wives of BN officials caught up in scandal

BY THE BOOK: Datin Seri Zahrah holding a two-page statement which says that the transfer of funds out of the Balkis accounts was done in line with the organisation's Constitution. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

malaysiatoday - SOON after winning the Selangor state legislature last month, the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) ordered that the state administration buildings and the offices of key state agencies be sealed and nothing be removed.

But they overlooked the premises of a state-funded welfare organisation, Balkis, operated by the wives of the Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians who lost in last month's general election.

Two days after the March 8 polls, key Balkis officials arrived at its office in the Selangor capital of Shah Alam and carted away documents and title deeds of properties it owned.

Another RM9.9 million (S$4 million) in cash deposits were transferred out of the organisation's bank accounts by Balkis officials led by Datin Seri Zahrah Kecik, the wife of former Selangor chief minister Khir Toyo.

The murky goings-on at Balkis, which are being replicated in other states such as Penang and Perak which also fell to the opposition in the elections, have since turned into a major scandal over the alleged abuse of public funds by organisations associated with the BN.

'The whole situation is very disturbing, and there is certainly the possibility of criminal breach of trust in the entire affair,' said Bar Council vice-president Ragunath Kesavan.

The following account is based on interviews with key Selangor state government officials and documents made available to The Straits Times. more...


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