NSC chalet purchase: Buyers let of the hook

Sports Ministry says they were just following orders
Monday, April 5th, 2010 12:22:00

EXTRAVAGANT: A view of one of the two premier chalets acquired in Port Dickson

KUALA LUMPUR: National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong and NSC management division director Abdul Rashid Yaakub have been let off the hook after the Sports Ministry decided that the acquisition of two premier chalets by the council in 2004 was not their fault.
The two units of Legend Water Chalets in Port Dickson, which cost RM850,000, were purchased during Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad’s tenure as NSC director-general.

Apparently, Mazlan had “verbally” instructed Rashid and Zolkples to buy the units after responding to an advertisement in a newspaper.

Both Zolkples and Rashid were issued warning letters in which they were to appeal within 14 days.

Rashid responded earlier while the ministry received Zolkples’s letter days later.

After scrutinising their appeals and discussing the matter with the appeals committee, Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek decided not to take any action against the duo.

This was revealed during a separate meeting after the NSC management board met at Casa 1 in Bukit Jalil last week.

“A decision was made to issue a warning to both Zolkples and Rashid but after gathering the facts, we decided not to pursue the matter,” said Shabery.

“The only issue here is the method it was purchased. Both Zolkples and Rashid were merely following orders and there was no loss of money.

There were no irregularities in the transaction. They will be handed a caution letter (surat ingatan secara pentadbiran) instead.” The Paper That Cares, in its report headlined “NSC in the soup — again!” on Feb 4, revealed that the council earned a ticking-off from the Auditor-General for the purchase of the chalets — resembling more of a honeymoon suite — which contradicted the Government Contracts Act 1949 (revised 1979) and NSC Act 1971.

It is learnt that the maintenance for the chalets is about RM5,000 a year. Both chalets have not been used since their completion in 2006.

When asked if action would be taken against Mazlan, Shabery added: “We haven’t come to that stage yet.” It is believed that action, if any, against Mazlan could be discussed in the next board meeting, the date for which has not been fixed.

Shabery admitted that the ministry may approve the purchase as the value of the property had increased.

“You can give me a bungalow in Pulau Tioman for RM2 and I might not even want it as we have to look at the maintenance costs and other factors involved,” he said.

“We will take all factors into consideration (in approving the purchases) but I’ve said this before, buying properties is not the core business of NSC.”