IPOH, Dec 17 — Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said that the state government never spent RM600 million on now-closed Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS), to deny allegations that trace back to 2019.

Saarani said MAPS was developed by Perak Corp Berhad Development Sdn Bhd (PCBD), a subsidiary company of Perak Corp Berhad (PCB) that is listed on the Bursa Malaysia.

“The state has never funded this project. It was financed by PCBD through loans from several financial institutions.  

“Therefore, the state government did not incur any losses or debts as alleged,” he said during his winding-up speech at the state assembly.

Saarani said that the state was not linked to MAPS’s debts or liable to pay these off.

“The state government also does not interfere in the business affairs of the company because it is managed professionally by the company's board of directors and management body.

“In other words, the state government does not have a 'locus standi' to interfere in the affairs of the company,” he explained.

Sungkai assemblyman A. Sivanesan then asked if the state government has ever channeled public funds into the project or issued guarantee to any agencies that had interest in the project.

Saarani replied that the state did not spent a single cent on the project and was not bound by any related guarantee to any financial institutions.

Saarani explained that while the state-owned Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak (PKNP), a government-linked company, has a 56 per cent stake in PCB, it was not directly involved in the subsidiary that developed MAPS.

“So, whether PCBD is getting profit or loss from the project is not our problem. We don’t have a say on their business,” he said.

“However, if PKNP is the one who suffers loss then, yes, it is a direct impact to the state cause we have 56 per cent shares in PCB.

“But in this case, PKNP is not the one who suffered the loss, instead it was PCBD. How can we interfere?” he asked.

State Opposition Leader Abdul Aziz Bari (PH-Tebing Tinggi) then said that the state government should take political accountability as the failure of the theme park has tarnished the name of the state.

Saarani agreed that what happened to MAPS has had a negative impact on the state’s image.

“I agree that the state has negative image due to MAPS failure, but not to the claims that the state government loss RM600 cause we never invested,” he said.

The RM520 million theme park was closed January last year after operating for merely four years.

In March 2019, the Perak Corporation Berhad audit committee made a shocking revelation that the construction and development cost of the MAPS had increased about RM217 million compared to its original cost.

It stated that the cost of constructing and developing MAPS went from RM390 million to RM607 million.