IPOH, March 27 — Perak Corporation Berhad audit committee chairman Chong Zhemin today challenged former mentri besar Zambry Abd Kadir to explain the RM217 million increase for the construction and development of the Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS).
The DAP lawmaker said Zambry had not responded to him for the past three days since he revealed the cost increase.
“Instead, state Opposition leader Datuk Saarani Mohamad came to Zambry’s rescue by saying that he did not have to answer the questions, but the Perak Corporation Berhad (PCB)’s board members and account committee should be responsible,” Chong told a press conference at Hotel Casuarina Meru here.
The Keranji assemblyman stressed that Zambry should be fully responsible for the increase in the cost of constructing and developing MAPS, which went from RM390 million to RM607 million as he had direct control of the PCB.
“Saarani said that Zambry is not the chairman for PCB, thus he should not be questioned on this matter.
“But it is a well-known fact that during the previous management, the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) group practised centralised decision making and Zambry was the corporation’s former chairman,” he said.
PCB, which is a PKNP subsidiary, owns the PBC Development Berhad (PCBD), which holds a 51 per cent share in the Animation Theme Park Sdn Bhd (ATP). The balance 49 per cent share belongs to RSG MAPS Sdn Bhd (RSGM).
Last Saturday, Chong exposed the cost increase in the MAPS project and said that Zambry should be solely responsible in the matter.
Chong also has been issuing press statements every day on the matter to question Zambry since Saturday and promised to continue doing so until the start of the state assembly on April 16.
Chong claimed that Zambry had allowed an advance payment of RM250 million by PCBD to the main contractor of the project, despite knowing that the contractor had financial problems.
He also accused Zambry of allowing PCB to become the only company funding the project despite owning only 51 per cent of shares in ATP.
On Sunday, Sinar Harian reported that Saarani said Zambry did not need to answer the questions raised by Chong as the exposure on MAPS was made for cheap publicity and was politicised.
Saarani also described as evil intent Chong’s action to issue a press statement on the matter before getting a full audit from PwC that has been assigned as the official audit firm for MAPS.
“We are not politicising this issue. We expose the matter after our internal audit report as the public has all the right to know about it. MAPS stakeholders are also happy with this transparency,” Chong said in response.
“We did not conclude that there is misconduct or fraudulent acts in the project. We just raised some questions as there are a lot of questionable decisions and lopsided agreements.”