Friday, 5 October 2012

BN starts big-time trampling on the weak, poor, needy

BN starts big-time trampling on the weak, poor, needy
By Chua Jui Meng

LAND grabs, Cowgate and the Malaysian Paralympic Council (MPC) Financial Scandal are all related to mismanagement of public funds or abuse of power in high public office.
These are matters flourishing under the Barisan Nasional (BN) rule the past 55 years. What is disgusting today is that the despicable greed for money has been extended by thieves mercilessly zooming in on funds meant for the poor, needy and physically challenged.
Do these people who grab such funds sinfully have any sense of humanity or guilt?
The greed for money and wealth has become blatant and common for all with the right connections in BN, especially Umno.
Land grabs are well known in Sarawak and Sabah but now it is going big time in Johor’s Pengerang – the location of the RM60 billion Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) mega project.
Through the exploitation of the Land Acquisition Act 1960, the BN federal and state governments are acquiring 22,500 acres of agriculture land for Rapid!
The acreage to be acquired is ridiculously massive for Rapid which only requires not more than 7,000 acres.
Rapid is not just about investments into the oil refinery industry. It is also BN’s opportunity to grab lands belonging to villagers cheaply, converting the land use from agriculture to property development and enhancing the value of land by as much as 1,000% for their crony businesses.
The BN government is a classic model of one that does not hesitate to trample on the weak and poor.
The infamous Cowgate and the Shahrizats (family of former Women, Family and Community Development Minister) is another case of abuse of power and mismanagement of funds allocated for the poor.
The National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) was set up for a national cattle breeding project to produce affordable beef for the poor, especially the kampung (village) folks.
The NFC then awarded the project to the Shahrizats; husband and children then started giving themselves fat five-figure salaries, buying condominiums costing millions of ringgit, luxury cars, costly holidays, etc.
The project was then described by the country’s Auditor-General as “sick”.
Now we have the RM3.8 million MPC Financial Scandal.
The funds were allocated by the BN government to promote the interests of the physically challenged in the sports arena.
Now, MPC’s 14 affiliates are being told that it has written-off RM3.8 million invested in an events management company helmed by its president Zainal Abidin Abu Zarin and his family. Wooo … isn’t this familiar with the Shahrizats’ Cowgate!
Are we expected to just accept the write-off? It is public funds we are talking about and MPC even had the audacity to respond to queries from affiliates with this: “It’s highly confidential!”
Confidential my foot!
And, why is the Anti-Corruption Commission not acting? Who is MACC protecting?
According to theSun’s report, the investment made in 2008 was kept “hidden” until last year. The MACC ostensibly probed the issue last year – but silence has fallen since then.
So, what has happened to the probe? What were the findings?
This demands public accountability as public funds have gone awry. It cannot, and must not, be swept under the carpet to protect those with strong cables with those holding high office.
The plundering of the national coffer for the past 55 years must be stopped and it is up to Malaysians to judge what needs to be done.
The financial health of Malaysia is at stake as it is now only 1.3% short of the 55% legislated debt ceiling. Beyond that, we are on the way to becoming a bankrupt country like Greece and the tragic economic consequence on the rakyat (people) is for all to see today.
For more details on the MPC financial scandal, here are two reports by theSun newspaper:
M'sian Paralympic Council writes off RM3.8m in company run by its president
Posted on 4 October 2012 - 05:23am
Last updated on 4 October 2012 - 02:35pm

PETALING JAYA (Oct 4, 2012): The Malaysian Paralympic Council (MPC) has written-off RM3.8 million invested in an events management company helmed by its president Datuk Zainal Abidin Abu Zarin (pix) and his family.
According to minutes of its Sept 29 annual general meeting (AGM) which were made available to theSun, RM3.8 million of a RM4 million investment in Paralimpik Ventures Sdn Bhd (PVSB) was written off due to the "irrecoverability" of the investment.
In a note at the end of its financial statement for the year ending December 2010, it was minuted that the MPC had on July 5, 2011 received a letter where PVSB made a commitment to repay RM200,000 plus 5% interest by March 2012.
Subsequently, the MPC received another letter dated Aug 6, 2012, where it was mentioned that the balance of the principal (RM3.8 million) would be paid latest by 2014.
However, the AGM last Saturday was informed that the executive board had on Sept 23 decided to write off the RM3.8 million, and this will be reflected in the financial statements for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2012.
MPC, the nation's governing sports body for the disabled, is a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting sports among the disabled for them to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Its main sources of funds to carry out these activities are government grants, sponsorship contributions and donations.
A check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia indicated that PVSB, which was registered in 1999, is helmed by Zainal Abidin, who is listed as its director and 80% share holder.
Other directors named are one Muhamad Wahbullah Abu Zarin, Zainal Abidin's two sons, Idi Irwan and Ilia Ikhwan and MPC secretary-general Kassim Abd Rahman, who is listed as holding 10% of the shares, and Idi the remaining 10%.
When contacted, a council member,National Blind Sports Association (NBSA) vice-president Prof Datuk Dr Chandra Sekaran confirmed that the council had written off the investment, as stated in the minutes of the AGM.
"How can you write-off RM3.8 million? We asked but the executive board's reply was that sponsors would not fund upcoming games if the accounts are not approved.
"As it is, the funds given to disabled sports are already reduced. MPC relies on public money and government funds," said Chandra, whose NBSA is one of the 14 affiliates under the MPC.
"In the end it is the disabled athletes who suffer. Reduced funds means fewer athletes can participate in games and training," he added.
Chandra pointed out that the council, in the first place, cannot make the decision to write off the money without referring the matter to the general body.
"The two directors of PVSB are sitting in the MPC executive board , and they approved the investment. Now they are saying they can't recover the money.
"When I asked for an explanation they said it was 'highly confidential', but how can it be confidential? It's public money!" said Chandra.
"They say the investment was a failure. Then there must be some way to recover the money."
Meanwhile, another member of the executive board who declined to be named, said the AGM was told that the investment had gone sour, and PVSB was only asking for a deferment of payment.
He said a sub-committee was also supposed to be formed to recover the money, but did not elaborate on when or who would head the sub-committee.
Sports Commissioner Datuk Mohd Yasin Mohd Salleh, when contacted, said he had not received the AGM minutes from the council and would decline further comment until he was able to view the report.
However, he gave an assurance that he would follow up on the matter.
Numerous attempts by theSun to contact Zainal for comment were unsuccessful.
MPC's controversial investment into PVSB had been raised in the press last year when RM4 million was transferred to PVSB in April 2008, during a transition period when the MPC was re-registered under the Sports Commissioner, instead of the Registrar of Societies.
According to reports, the transfer of funds to PVSB was made through two cheques of RM 2 million each signed by Zainal and then-treasurer Liew Yoon Loy.
Following press reports, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) reportedly looked into the issue but the outcome of investigations are not known.
Mohd Yasin said since the MACC was looking into it at that time, he had left it at that and not conducted his own investigations.
What happened to the money?
Posted on 4 October 2012 - 05:29am
Last updated on 4 October 2012 - 04:06pm
Comment by Pauline Wong
THE Malaysian Paralympic Council (MPC) came under fire last year for investing RM4 million in an events management company helmed by its president Datuk Zainal Abidin Abu Zarin, and his two sons.
Now, council members have been told the investment had been written off as "irrecoverable".
This means that the money – which could have been used to fund the training of more athletes for the Paralympic Games, or to reward them with prize money and narrow the gap when compared with what Olympians are getting – is most likely, as one source put it, "all gone!".
An organisation which is supposed to promote sporting excellence among the differently-abled has no business investing RM4 million in an events manage-ment company, even if it is called Paralimpik Ventures Sdn Bhd.
More importantly, it should not be making such "investments" without the knowledge of its 14 affiliates, which are all associations and societies for the different aspects of disabled sports.
Talk about transparency. What's worse, there appears to be a conflict of interest as the company has as its directors, none other than the MPC president, his two sons, and the MPC secretary-general.
According to sources, the investment made in 2008 was kept "hidden" from the general body comprising the affiliates until last year. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission ostensibly probed the issue last year – but silence has fallen since then.
And no explanation, not even to the MPC general body, has been given as to how the money was used by the company, although the MPC president and secretary are principal officers of the company.
Zainal was not reachable for comment, despite numerous attempts to contact him.
It is time to break this silence.
The investment may or may not directly have come from our tax dollars, but it is money collected from donors, sponsors and concerned individuals.
It is time the individuals involved show responsibility and come clean with a proper explanation as to what happened to the money.