ACA should investigate the extraordinary, inexplicable and indefensible Klang Municipal Council expenditure of RM250,000 to buy 10 thoroughbreds from Britain and Australia to form a horse crime unit to fight petty crimes to ascertain whether it complies with the principles of public integrity, transparency and good governance
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The Anti-Corruption Agency should investigate the Klang Municipal Council expenditure of RM250,000 to buy 10 thoroughbreds from Britain and Australia to form a horse crime unit to fight petty crimes as the decision is so extraordinary, inexplicable and indefensible to ascertain as to whether it complies with the principles of public integrity, transparency and good governance.
Yesterday, following a tip-off from Michael Fong, a racing manager in New Zealand, I had posed three questions about the Sunday Star report (13.7.03) entitled “Klang council horses to help fight petty crime” about the extraordinary Klang Municipal Council decision, viz:
(1) When did crime prevention become a Klang council matter?
(2) Thoroughbreds race at their peak at five years old. The report says they are five and six year-olds. This suffice to say they are useless as racehorses and such horses are usually culled and can be bought at public auctions for RM1,000 or less each. The cost of flying a thoroughbred from New Zealand to Malaysia is about RM7,000. From Australia, it would be just slightly less, from Britain it will be much more expensive, hence the freight bill will be higher than the animals!
(3) The upkeep of the horses, i.e farrier fees, vet accounts, drench etc make them very expensive to maintain, certainly much much more than maintaining a fleet of motorbikes if the aim was to patrol narrow alleyways.
This has led to further discussion by listers on the DAP bungaraya mailing list on the Internet, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bungaraya/, and more questions by Michael Fong, such as:
The responses and queries from other listers on the bungaraya mailing list include:
Jeffooi in his blog, http://www.malaysiakini.com/jeffooi/, describing it as “a serious governance issue”, posed five questions, viz:
1. How many of the 24 appointed MPK councilors sokong the decision to buy the thoroughbreds?
2. How much do they know of the consequential cost implications arising from their decision?
3. As the state government's approval must be obtained for the quoted expenditure of RM250,000, on what basis did Khir Toyo's administration give the greenlight?
4. Were the horses used for purposes other than those claimed by the mayor, e.g. equestrian practice-rides for the VIPs?
5. Who were the middlemen for the horse supply? Was there an open tender process for the procurement?
If the Selangor Mentri Besar, the Klang Municipal Mayor and Councillors could not furnish satisfactory answers to the above questions in the next 24 to 48 hours, the Anti-Corruption Agency should step in and open a file to begin investigations into the extraordinary, inexplicable and indefensible decision by the Klang Municipal Council to find the answers to all these questions and in particular, to find out whether the whole transaction was above-board complying with all the principles of public integrity, transparency and good governance.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman