NSC's Chalet fiasco: It was supposed to be a secret
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Sports Council, apparently, wanted to keep the purchase of the two premium chalets in Port Dickson "a secret".
Sources told The Malay Mail that the council was forced to keep the purchase under wraps for fear of it being misused by “higher ranking officials within the Sports Ministry”.
The Malay Mail, in its report "NSC in the soup — again!" published yesterday, revealed that the council was ticked off by the Auditor-General after purchasing two units of the Legend Water Chalets in Port Dickson for RM850,000 in 2004.
The chalets have not been used since their completion in 2006. According to the 2008 Auditor-General’s Report, the transaction between NSC and developer KL Metropolitan (M) Sdn Bhd was done without the approval of the council’s board of directors.
Apparently, the then director-general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad had “verbally instructed” his officials to buy the property but no proper documentation of the transaction was done by the council.
Mazlan served as NSC director-general from 1993-2005.
The report pointed out that the purchase of the chalets, installed with jacuzzi and see-through floor paneling with a view of the sea, was not in compliance with the Government Contracts Act 1949 (revised 1979) and the NSC Act 1971.
The report even suggested that "disciplinary action" be taken against the officials involved for their failure to adhere to the procedures as stipulated by the governing law.
NSC director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong, who was involved in the transaction during Mazlan’s tenure as DG, admitted that the council has taken adequate measures to ensure all future transactions were recorded and done in an orderly fashion.
“We should have recorded it then but it didn’t happen. It was an oversight and it will never happen again,” said Zolkples.
“There wasn't any hanky-panky involved. It was a clean deal for the benefit of the NSC community.”
Zolkples kept mum when asked if the council had purposely kept the purchase in the dark from certain quarters.
“We’ve been pre-occupied and had no time to use the chalets.”
Zolkples was summoned to face the disciplinary board, chaired by the Sports Ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Yasin Salleh, last year.
“I presented the matter to the board last year (August) and they were receptive to the idea. I’ve replied to (Sports Ministry secretary general) Yasin’s letter explaining the whole transaction. I’ve also explained to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission."
When pressed if the chalets will ever be used, Zolkples said: “I’m just waiting for the clearance from the ministry and hopefully once everything is sorted out, we will be able to use the chalets.”
“In fact, I’ve yet to step into the chalets,” Zolkples added.
The council was also ticked off for hiring a consulting architect firm which was already de-registered by the Architect’s Board of Malaysia and the delay in the upgrading works for the Gymnasium 3 training centre in Bukit Jalil, national sailing training centre in Langkawi, athletes’ training centre in Gua Musang, the Community Sports Complex in Kepala Batas and the Saujana Asahan Complex in Malacca.
Zolkples stressed that he was only involved in two major projects — resurfacing of the NSC running tracks and the upgrading works for the gymnastics centre — since the start of his tenure as DG in 2007.
“When I took over, we were already on a tight budget. The upgrading works for the tracks is long overdue and a tender has been issued. As for the gymnastics centre, we have asked for a re-tender and hope the work will be done in no time.”
Efforts to contact Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek proved futile.
This is not the first time the NSC has received the rap from the auditor-general.
On April 29, 2008, The Paper That Cares published an article headlined “NSC’s RM22 million bill raises eyebrows”, where the council was found to have spent some RM22,335,867 for "professional services, celebrations and hospitality" throughout 2006.
NSC also recorded an excessive spending of RM86.55 million under the National Sports Trust Account, exceeding its budget of RM45 million, in 2006.