KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — The Malaysia Totalisator Board gave approval to a private gambling company to pay for a police trip to Turkey in 2017, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.
Lim said the Board gave the approval under the previous Barisan Nasional administration before Pakatan Harapan came into power, in response to criticism and allegations of dubious practice surrounding the sponsorship.
“Some people are accusing us of being religiously insensitive because the board had sponsored the trip,” Lim told reporters in Putrajaya.
“I would like to point out that board members had approved to sponsor it back in 2017.”
The Malaysia Totalisator Board is an agency under the Finance Ministry which acts as a regulatory body to oversee racing and betting activities.
Sarawak Report (SR) on February 10 reported at least 16 high-ranking officers had travelled to Istanbul for a work trip on business class flights. They were also reported to have stayed in a luxury hotel.
The writer estimated that RM312,441 could have been spent on plane tickets and lodgings alone.
Among those who accompanied the inspector-general of police 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.
Lim said yesterday the Board has autonomy to seek sponsors or organise activities and does not require the ministry’s approval.
He denied the trip was funded by taxpayers money and said the money came from Da Ma Cai, a private number forecast operator.