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 totheSun, 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.
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.
DESIDERATA: I CONgratulate theSUN for consistently exposing GARFT -- subtle or otherVICE! -- BIG&small, taking place ala businessaSsusual in NegaraKu.
Recent cases, first it's RM250million Cowgate, now it's a smallerGate but you know what -- more SINful as they are robbing the "under-privileged" group of people covered by the Paralympic Games' various fields of human endeavour in the sports arena.
How low would Malaysian bintang go? Ooop,s myGOoDfriend ipoh;ang whispers "You left out an A!", and my reflex answer: DID I?
I let my ER decide -- are we seeING STARSA or Animals hogging our stage? PROUD WAN HEAR/HERE -- Kuala Lumpur is hosting an INTERNATIONAL confeence foucsing on Fighting Graft? I didn't read the details -- are we teaching the foreigngers how to bud-graft CORRUPTION? Like teaching these bankers Down Under how to pre-print new currency notes EVEN BEFORE RECEIVING AN OFFICIAL ISSUING ORDER FROM THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT?
How far have we progressed over the past decade since that aweSUM Menteri Besar said he was ignorant of official requirement of declaring huge sumes of money a foreigner (read Malaysian) can take into another country (read Queensland, AUSTRALIA)? YES, it's fitting hthat we can host an international high-profile sounding CONffab on CORRUPTION. But these guys don't even know how the word is spelt, less its definition and understanding of its meaning!
IF you are Menteri Besar/Chief Minister materail and don't even know basic Currency Rules on the international stage, W...T..F.... you wanna hold such a CON Fab? ~~ YL, Desi, knottaSsusual