It’s all a misunderstanding, says Muar district office on commission allegation

Ben Tan
Earlier today, Syed Saddiq said action will be taken against the unidentified individual who allegedly demanded commission for funds allocated to Chinese vernacular schools in Muar. — Picture by Choo Choy May

JOHOR BARU, Jan 3 — The Muar district office has clarified today that the alleged 30 per cent commission sought from an allocation to Chinese vernacular schools in the district was due to a misunderstanding between a supplier and a school.

Muar district officer Haffiz Ahmad explained that the percentage was the profit margin for the appointed supplier, and not a kickback as alleged in a report by a local Chinese daily.

He also made it clear that the representative who sought the commission was not linked in anyway to Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, his parliamentary office or even the district office as the report had claimed that the culprit had pretended to be an officer.

“Actually, the proposed fund allocation is the Muar parliament’s allocation warrant from the Johor Federal District Development Office to one of the Chinese schools in Parit Jawa.

“This warrant was approved and passed to the Muar district office as the implementing agency. Then the district office appoints a supplier to carry out the provision until the recipient receives the supplies as requested according to the approved value,” Haffiz said in a statement.

In the particular incident, Haffiz said the representative of one of the appointed supply companies had discussed with the school’s authorities about the items to be supplied and the  school had mistaken the representative as being from the Muar MP's office.

“Their discussions did not go smoothly as the school asked for items that exceeded the allocation and the company was unwilling to do the supply work as they will not make a profit - a maximum of 30 per cent ― if they followed the school's request,” he explained.

He added that the profit margin is up to the discretion of the supplier and the warrant recipient after all items are agreed to in accordance to procurement procedures.

Haffiz urged Sin Chew Daily to retract its report on the alleged commission and openly apologise to all affected parties.

Haffiz’s statement came hours after a police report was lodged by the Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s parliamentary special officer denying having anything to do with the commission for funds allocated to Chinese vernacular schools.

The Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong had also asserted that no assistant of any elected representative in the state was involved, pointing out that the parties involved were the contractors or suppliers appointed by the district office.

Earlier today, Syed Saddiq said action will be taken against the unidentified individual who pretended to be his special officer and allegedly demanded commission for funds allocated to Chinese vernacular schools in Muar.

The Muar MP said he has instructed his office in the constituency to lodge a police report against the impersonator so that the suspect may be brought to justice following an exposé by the local Chinese press.

According to Chinese paper Sin Chew Daily, the impersonator had approached several schools asking a 30 per cent cut from their allocations.

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