17 Dec So we were right, NOW chief says after Yapeim boss explains golf simulator buy
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — Datuk Abibullah Samsudin’s explanation yesterday on the golf simulator controversy has only strengthened the National Oversight and Whistleblower (NOW) center’s allegations, the director of the PKR-linked anti-graft body said today.
Akmal Nasir pointed out that Abibullah had as good as confirmed that the Malaysian Islamic Economic Development Foundation’s (Yapeim) purchased the simulator although the latter was not clear on the purpose of the investment.
He noted that when NOW first issued a media statement on the controversy, Yapeim had only responded by saying that golf is one activity it uses to raise funds but did not confirm the existence of the simulator nor its cost.
“However, the statement made by Yapeim chief executive yesterday just confirmed that indeed Yapeim bought the simulator.
“It has also confirmed the truth about the exposés by NOW again,” Akmal toldMalay Mail Online.
Yesterday, Bernama reported Abibullah as denying that Yapeim had used the public’s charitable contributions to purchased the equipment, saying instead that they were bought with income from foundation’s business.
The Yapeim CEO also reportedly said that the simulator is now in the foundation’s recreation center inside its nine-storey building in Petaling Jaya and that the building would be upgraded into a four-star hotel.
Akmal noted, however, that Abibullah’s explanation did not clearly state the need for such a simulator especially when the four-star hotel has yet to be built.
“This is going against the fact taken from Yapeim Budget 2013 saying that Pusat Latihan INPUT Golf/Golf Simulator was created for Sukan Korporat Yapeim,” he added.
Akmal said NOW would stand by its allegations and repeated the center’s previous questions on the price paid for the simulator as well as the objectives for the purchase.
On December 17, Akmal held a press conference to question the purchase of the golf simulator and asked Yapeim to explain why a charity outfit would need such luxury equipment.
He said during the conference that Yapeim’s 2013 budget report also states that other types of development efforts listed in the name of corporate sports and golf games is the establishment of a ‘Pusat Sukan INPUT GolfSimulator’, owned by a subsidiary of Yapeim — Institut Penyelidikan dan Perundingan Yapeim Sdn Bhd (INPUT).
A picture that NOW took of the purported golf simulator centre’s signboard in Mentari Business Park, Petaling Jaya was also shown to reporters, but the sign was for a “Pusat Latihan INPUT Golf” or INPUT Golf Training Centre.
Akmal also produced a copy of he claimed to be Yapeim’s financial statement for the year ending December 2014, in which golf simulator equipment was listed as an asset that depreciated by 20 per cent in value, among others.
He said his motivation in making raising the issues linked to Yapeim was to ensure that public contributions to the charity were not being misused.
Yapeim came under scrutiny last month, after NOW alleged that Islamic affairs ministr Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom misused the organisation’s fund for what the group claims were “unnecessary” trips to the United States (US) and Paris, France.
NOW further raised questions over salaries drawn from the charity foundation by its director and deputy, a Wanita Umno leader, and asked if some funds were even used for the recent Rompin by-election.
It also alleged that Yapeim had paid RM290,000 to hold two marriage courses in Paris, France.
Jamil Khir later sued the NOW director over the allegations.