28 April 2008

Balkis didn't need approval

SHAH ALAM: Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has challenged the state government to take legal action over the dissolution of Balkis (Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation) and the transfer of RM9.9 million funds.

In response to criticisms of the transfer the former menteri besar said: "Please don't talk rubbish and refer to our lawyer."

Dr Khir was defending his wife, Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik, the past president of Balkis, who has come under fire for calling an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on March 11 to dissolve the charity.

He said the dissolution of Balkis and transfer of funds to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) was done in accordance with the charity's constitution.

An EGM was convened after one-fifth of Balkis members requested for it, while the dissolution and transfer of funds to Bakti received approval from two-thirds of members, he said.
He said there was no need for auditors of Balkis to be informed or consulted before the charity was dissolved and the funds transferred.

"The role of auditors is to ensure the accounts are according to financial standards."

Dr Khir yesterday also disputed a statement by Selangor executive councillor for tourism, consumer affairs and environment Elizabeth Wong that Balkis accounts for last year had yet to be finalised.

"Everything was finalised before the funds were transferred."

Dr Khir also rejected Wong's view that Balkis needed the approval of the Internal Revenue Board (IRB) before transferring the funds.

Dr Khir said the Balkis constitution stated that funds could be transferred to any organisation with similar objectives and which had tax-exemption status by the IRB.

He said Balkis was a charity and the money raised was for the benefit of orphans and underprivileged students adopted by the charity.

He also lambasted the Bar Council for saying that the dissolution and transfer of funds could be tantamount to criminal breach of trust.

"They (the Bar Council) are lawyers and should not give opinions without studying the constitution of Balkis."

His wife, Zaharah also threatened to take legal action against those who continued to make "false accusations and unfounded allegations" against Balkis.

When contacted, Bar Council vice-president Ragunath Kesavan said Balkis was not a private company but a charitable body which received public funds.

"The dissolution and transfer of the huge amount of public funds are a matter of public interest."

Ragunath questioned the need to dissolve the charity.

"There was a general election and the people have spoken for change.

"New members should take over the charity and continue its purpose."

He said the dissolution of Balkis and the transfer of funds should be investigated.

"Those being investigated have nothing to fear if everything was done in accordance with the law."

Source NST Online


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