THE MALAY MAIL
MINISTRY PROBES NSC
KUALA LUMPUR: The Youth and Sports Ministry has started its probe into the controversial purchase of two chalets in Port Dickson by the National Sports Council (NSC).
Its minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, in voicing his displeasure over NSC's investments in such properties, wants to get to the bottom of the issue.
“This happened sometime back and I’m unaware as to why NSC bought the chalets in the first place,” he said.
“I’ve been asking them (NSC officials) the same question. Buying chalets is not the core business of NSC.” Shabery was told, during a board of directors meeting six months ago, that the chalets were bought for the use of the NSC community.
“I was told it’s quite normal for some government related agencies to have their own property…a retreat for the staff.
“But I believe that when you buy a property, you have to spend money maintaining it. It would be cheaper to rent instead, as practised by big American corporations.”
Shabery has tasked the ministry’s secretary-general, Datuk Yasin Salleh, with heading the investigation panel. Asked if any NSC official would be hauled up for investigation or disciplinary action, Shabery said: “Let’s gather the facts first and investigate this matter thoroughly. I want to know the details before we talk about the next step.”
The Malay Mail, in its report last Thursday headlined NSC In The Soup – Again!, had highlighted that the council spent RM850,000 to purchase two Legend Water chalets in Port Dickson in 2004. This was revealed in the 2008 Auditor-General’s Report.
The then NSC director-general, Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad, had “verbally instructed” his officials, including current director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong, to buy the property without the approval of the board of directors.
There is no proper documentation of the transaction by the council.
The chalets, installed with jacuzzi and see-through floors with a view of the sea, were completed in 2006 and have not been used since.
Our report had also said that in purchasing the chalets, the NSC failed to comply with both the Government Contracts Act 1949 and the the NSC Act 1971. The Malay Mail later learnt that the purchase was kept under wrap for fear of “misuse by certain high ranking officials within the ministry”.
Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz, who succeeded Mazlan as director-general, claimed to have no knowledge about the chalets acquired.
“If the matter was brought to my attention (during my tenure as director-general) I would have informed the board. But I was equally in the dark.
“It’s a sad situation.
There’s nothing more I can say.”
This is not the first time NSC has been caught in a mess.
On April 29, 2008, The Paper That Cares had published an article headlined NSC’s RM22 Bill Raises Eyebrows, after learning that the council spent some RM22,335,867 on "professional services, celebrations and hospitality" in 2006.
NSC also recorded spending RM86.55 million under the National Sports Trust Account,exceeding its 2006 budget of RM45 million