According to MalaysiaKini, the disbursement of RM19 million for a chilli planting programme to a foundation led by its deputy minister, M Saravanan, has now put the Youth and Sports Ministry under fire over alleged conflict of interest.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) continues to investigate the RM107 million embezzlement case involving the Youth and Sports Ministry. Despite that, a written parliamentary reply to Batu Gajah MP, V Sivakumar states the government disbursed the funds to Yayasan NAAM.
Yayasan NAAM or New Affirmative Action Movement is a registered company chaired by Saravanan, along with other MIC leaders in the board of directors, Companies Commission of Malaysia records show.
In a response to this, DAP ‘s Serdang MP Ong Kiang Ming said, “The awarding of government funding to an NGO effectively controlled by a political party is totally unacceptable and unethical.”
He also said that if Penang did the same thing, there would be an uproar.
“One can imagine the furore that would have been caused if the Penang state government had channelled state funding to an NGO that was controlled by DAP, and has a free hand to use the funds to conduct its political activity,” he added.
Ong also said that MACC would be unleashed to investigate this immediately.
Calling for an explanation from former Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Ong pointed out that Yayasan NAAM is not under the ministry’s control, nor has it been audited.
Whatever the case may be, Saravanan said the funds were disbursed through the Prime Minister’s Department and not by the Youth and Sports Ministry. He also said that the Youth and Sports Ministry only plays a monitoring role, making sure the programme goes according to plan.
Saravanan added that there was no conflict of interest and there was nothing wrong with him acting as a chairperson of the foundation.
This does sounds hot and spicy, and we’ll have to wait until this case unfolds itself.