PUTRAJAYA, Feb 13 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today clarified that the recent police work trip to Istanbul, Turkey, was not funded by taxpayers’ money.
He said although Totalisator Board of Malaysia, a statutory body under the Ministry of Finance, had approved and sponsored the trip, Lim said the board’s source of funds comes from Da Ma Cai, a number forecast operator.
“Totalisator Board had approved the trip, but the source of money was not from the government because its source of funds comes from Da Ma Cai. Not a single sen had come from us.
“But because they come under the ministry, there may be a need to review as to whether they should obtain approval from the ministry before organising such events,” he told a press conference here.
“I did not know of the trip because we had not needed to approve it. At present, the current procedure only requires the approval of its board members, therefore I will review this matter,” Lim added.
When asked whether a policy would be drawn that would seek such agencies to refer to the ministry for approval, Lim said a blanket rule cannot be applied to the agencies under the ministry.
“You must understand that you cannot have a blanket directive for the agencies under the ministry.
“For example, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) — would you not want BNM to act independently? We don’t want to impose these kinds of restrictions let me deal with this case first,” he said.
Yesterday, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin confirmed that he had given the green light for the work trip, which was attended by mostly senior officers and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun himself.
He said Totalisator Board had partially sponsored the trip, adding he was not informed about who, how or how many were going.
Sarawak Report (SR) on February 10 reported at least 16 high-ranking officers travelled to Istanbul for a work trip and the online news portal estimated that RM312,441 could have been spent on just business class flights and hotels for the group.
According to SR, among those who accompanied the IGP were Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department director Commissioner Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin, Narcotics Criminal Investigations Department director Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh, and several other top brass.