DAP rep calls on Sarawak PAC to probe state unit trust fund

Pujut state assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon (right) speaks to reporters, May 6, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Pujut state assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon (right) speaks to reporters, May 6, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, May 6 — DAP’s Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon today urged the Sarawak State Assembly’s Public Account Committee (PAC) to launch a full investigation on the state-owned Amanah Saham Sarawak (Assar).

He said the investigation should be carried out before the case is taken up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

He said as of December 31, 2018, the net asset value for one unit of Assar is a mere 2.9 sen and the state government is liable for the rest of 97.1 sen for each unit as guarantor.

“The net asset of Assar has reduced by 62 per cent in 2018, from RM35 million to RM13 million ringgit,” he said quoting ASS Interim Reports dated February 8, 2019.

He said most of the asset is in cash or bank deposit or non-trading stocks.

He said Assar used to have assets of more than half a billion ringgit 25 years ago, but are now basically worthless to the unitholders. 

Ting also claimed that the fund has lost RM4.3 million in the last six months, and most of these losses were due to ludicrous management fees of about RM7 million a year.

He said Assar expenditure has been consistently more than its income for the past few years, adding that for this year, cost of managing Assar is going to be more than 50 per cent of the unit value.

“I predict Assar would have no net asset before the end of the year,” he said, adding that Sarawakians have entrusted their government to manage the state’s resources and the successive Barisan Nasional/Gabungan Parti Sarawak governments have performed poorly in the past 55 years.

“In Amanah Saham Sarawak, the real monies of Sarawak bumiputera unitholders and the state government virtually disappeared in front of their eyes,” he said, adding that Assar could be the 1Malaysia Development Berhad of Sarawak.

Speaking at a press conference later, Ting said he may lodge a report with MACC if he does not get a satisfactory reply from the state finance minister in his winding up speech later.

He believed that Assar is having problems that the state government must disclose to the unitholders.

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