Under-fire minister explains why FT needs YWP, and how foundation works

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad speaks during a press conference at Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur June 11, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad speaks during a press conference at Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur June 11, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — The much-maligned Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) is a necessary vehicle that acts to both raise funds and distribute welfare aid for residents of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, Khalid Samad said today amid calls for the foundation’s abolition.

The Federal Territories (FT) minister explained that the foundation incorporates all the functions that are usually separated into four levels within each state — a state government, a legislative assembly, a development board, and the state corporation under the direct purview of the state chief minister or mentri besar — to manage public welfare within their respective borders.

“There are voices calling for YWP to shut down, if we close it down, then the FT people will get even fewer services, facilities and help than people in other states,” Khalid told a press conference at the foundation’s headquarters here.

The Shah Alam MP has been fending off countless criticism from residents’ associations and civil groups including anti-graft group Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism who questioned his motifs and decision in maintaining YWP.

Not a few have called for his resignation too, claiming the FT minister should not be chairman of YWP because of a conflict of interest.

Khalid took them in his stride, acknowledging abuses in the past Barisan Nasional (BN) administration but insisting that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is now in charge and will not tolerate any malpractice.

“I admit in the past YWP has been abused but now we are in charge and we will use it as how it should be.

“If there still exists conflict of interest, the way to overcome it is during the meeting you declare your interest and then recuse yourself from making the decision. This is being practised everywhere.

“So please understand that YWP is not a body to achieve political mileage or ambitions. It is under new leadership,” he said.

Khalid said detractors who insisted YWP close should also push for a similar shutdown of other foundations in the states.

He said that such critics will then realise that the other states will still be able to provide welfare aid to their residents, but that those living within KL, Putrajaya and Labuan will be bereft.

This is because without YWP, the FT Ministry will struggle with raising funds for the public’s welfare and called for an end to baseless allegations that it was just a vehicle for abuse.

“YWP is in place so that it can look out for the welfare of the people of FT and make up for the lack of a state government,” he said.

Currently, there are similar foundations set up in Melaka, Johor, Kedah, Perlis, Negri Sembilan, Terengganu, Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang, Kelantan, Selangor and Penang, established in 2015.

The chairman of each state foundation is its respective mentri besar or chief minister.

“All the chairmen are the mentri besar, which is in accordance with Memorandum & Articles of Association YWP, Article 22 which states that ‘the board shall have a chairman who shall be the minister’,” he said.

Khalid also explained that unlike some other charity foundations that target their aid only to a specific community, YWP covers all.

“The yayasan Islam will only help the Muslims whereas our yayasan helps all races.”

He added that none of the FT Ministry staff secretly benefit from the foundation. YWP has 33 staff while its sister company the Federal Territories Housing Company has 11 and FT Media eight, accounting for a collective total of 52 staff.

“Also, none of my FT ministry staff have any shares or get bonuses or dividends from profiting from YWP. It is our sole duty to generate funds or source funds in any way possible and not for personal benefit,” he said.

Khalid promised to be open and hold press conferences to answer questions that may affect the public in relation to activities undertaken by YWP.

Currently there are five schemes under YWP, he said.

For the education portfolio the allocation for 2019 is RM7.6 million and as of March 31 RM1.064 million has been spent. For the economy portfolio Rm250,000 has been allocated, social platform RM2.9 million, religious portfolio RM1.1 million and for technology portfolio RM150,000.

The FT Ministry is also planning a seminar on how to tackle urban poverty and has set aside RM1.5 million for tahfiz and Chinese vernacular schools. He said micro transaction loans for small businesses and an urban farming project has also been established.

“I hope with all the information I’ve given today there won’t be any more sensational news titles that get me in trouble as the previous ‘No More Public Hearings’ took me one month to explain myself,” Khalid said.

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