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Yes Selangor Government Pay RM42 million too much – Tony Pua

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With friends like Tony Pua, PKR doesn’t need enemies.

The DAP numbers man has conceded that the PKR-led Selangor administration did indeed pay Talam Corporation RM42 million too much in the now-infamous land deal.

This is exactly what Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Datuk Seri Khalid Ibrahim didn’t want to hear.

Since the scandal erupted last week Khalid has admitted nothing and done everything he can to get the story out of the news.

He has threatened legal action against MCA, which originally raised the allegations, accusing it of having “tarnished the good name of the Selangor government.”

He has then told the media that he cannot address the charges because, of course, now there is legal action underway and making a comment might prejudice the case.

It’s all so perfect.

This means Khalid doesn’t have to explain why his administration paid RM181 million for 2,263.53 acres of Bestari Jaya land that the independent valuer Mitra Valuers priced at RM139 million.

And he too doesn’t have to clarify the RM676 million worth of assets the Selangor administration purchased from Talam.

More fundamentally, as MCA’s Chua Tee Yong has asked, he doesn’t need to address why the state government is doing such deals with a listed company that led to these desperate debt recovery transactions?

So far Khalid has not explained or admitted anything. But now Tony Pua has dropped him right in it. PKR is unlikely to thank him for this frank admission.

But of course, Pua thought he was doing Khalid a favour. Pua said the Talam deals were, in fact, good business for the people because for other assets the government underpaid by RM9 million.

Was that before or after the government paid RM42 million too much, Tony? Trying to put a positive spin on such a poor piece of business looks plain desperate and his decision to wade into the affair has not helped PKR one bit.

Pua’s actions have touched on a broader issue about his ability to cause problems, not for Barisan Nasional but also Pakatan Rakyat.

The clever Oxford graduate specialises in pouring over columns of numbers and trying to use them to embarrass the Government.

But as often as not, his efforts will also embarrass the parties of the Opposition coalition, which makes promises today and thinks about the economic implications tomorrow (or never).

Just last month he was attacking the Government over the cost of subsidies, while conveniently forgetting his own side’s spendthrift pledges on free education paid for by oil money. That’s oil money that as already been earmarked for essential projects.

Perhaps he could provide us with a breakdown of the financial implications of that promise? In fact, perhaps he could keep a rolling tally of all the promises that Anwar makes as he goes about meeting his adoring fans in the run-up to GE13.

Of all the problems PKR has in Selangor, from a looming water crisis to the rubbish collection fiasco that resulted in piles or stinking garbage in the streets, this latest land scandal might prove the most damaging.

That’s because it strikes home on the two subjects on which PKR wants to attack BN nationally – economic management and transparency.

Now the party – and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition – could be robbed of that key line of attack, and Tony Pua hasn’t helped one bit.

At least he was attempting to be honest. Maybe Khalid should thank him for that? -thechoice