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

Media Statement
y Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaFriday): 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,,  and more questions by Michael Fong, such as:  

  • why buy thoroughbreds from Australia and Britain when Malaysia has its own National Stud Farm at Tanjung Rambutan? A cheaper alternative would be to contact the Malaysian Racing Association and ask it to help buy ex-racehorses that have been retired from racing on the Malaysian circuit. For street patrols, a animal that's more than 7 years old is preferred as they are more matured. Five-year-old thoroughbreds still have lots of fire in them and they could be dangerous if not properly trained and handled. In fact they could be dangerous to members of the public.
  • Does the council's public liability insurance cover injury and/or death to members of the public and council staff caused by the horses?
  • Are the horses insured? If yes, what sort of coverage do they have?
  • What's the premium for the insurance on the horses? I understand there is a minimum premium for horse insurance, hence if the horses were cheap buys, is the premium itself higher than the value of the horses?
  • The reported RM250,000 was for the purchase of the horses and building of a covered paddock. What sum has been budgeted for the continued maintenance of the horses, stabling area and the policing unit?
  • What was the cost for the purchase of the gears for the horses? E.g saddles, bits, harness etc etc. Were tenders called for?

The responses and queries from other listers on the bungaraya mailing list include:

  • I say just buy simple motor bikes, they will be fraction of the cost and cheaper to maintain. Are we going to patrol back lanes when we can't even manage the main roads? Probably Klang municipal council is going to send a team of councillors to "interview" the horses in Australia!! What will they think of next?
  • And as usual, we should also ask the basic question of: Do we really need horses, when we have Protons to patrol the town? Is the terrain in Klang scientifically proven to be suitable for the horses?  In a country obsessed with symbolism, this is what happens. Are we trying to ape the West? Are we trying to be more like the Royals in Britain where they parade in horse carriages?  Perhaps someone up there has forgotten this saying," Di mana bumi dipijak, di sana langit dijunjung". The irony is, these people are still pijak-ing the tanah in Malaysia, but they already menjunjung sky in Western countries.
  • Ridiculous! They just want to outdo other municipalities in a show of sophistication. Klang is the dirtiest town in Malaysia. They cannot even do the basic and yet they want to fight crime which is clearly not their domain besides issuing parking offences. Recently I wrote to Khir Toyo complaining of the rubbish dumps all over Pandamaran. He did reply after much prompting..and his answer...I have forwarded your complaint to MPK (Majlis Perbandaran Klang)!!  Another postman MB!! Today the dumps are still there and I challenge him to come over to my office and I will show him around Pandamaran. Never took the challenge. It needs another MPAJ scandal before he goes around town to look for himself the state of affairs.   Priorities of MPK are all wrong, from the dress code to the horse shit! I  will not be surprised in the near future we see Khir Toyo with the chief of MPK on horsebacks rounding up prostitutes!!

Jeffooi in his blog,, 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