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The Totalisator Board must be accountable to
the public in its disbursements of its funds to organization.
By M.Kulasegaran (Perak, Monday):
In 1961 the then Finance Minister En.Tan
Siew Sin when introducing in Parliament the Racing (Totalisator Agency
Board) Bill mentioned among other things that the proposed totalisator board is based on the New Zealand experience and the
“best way of providing a legal means of betting is to establish a
Totalisator Board which will have overall responsibility for the
control and co-ordination of all betting on horse races both on and
off the course in Malaya”.
(Perak, Monday): In 1961 the then Finance Minister En.Tan Siew Sin when introducing in Parliament the Racing (Totalisator Agency Board) Bill mentioned among other things that the proposed totalisator board is based on the New Zealand experience and the “best way of providing a legal means of betting is to establish a Totalisator Board which will have overall responsibility for the control and co-ordination of all betting on horse races both on and off the course in Malaya”.
On 14th March1991 the Ministry of Finance decided not to be directly involved in betting activities and it privatized its activities to Usaha Tegas Sdn. Bhd (UTSB). In July! 2004 i raised in Parliament why UTSB had been given exclusive rights to manage betting activities and in a written reply I had been notified that UTSB was selected as it had abilities to manage betting activities and has the commitment to promote equine sports.
The decision to privatize to UTSB is questionable. When the Board was incepted it was mentioned by the Government that “the Board it self would be completely independent body and the government will no way be responsible for its operations” In 1991 after 30 years of independent operations the board has suddenly been found to be actually a government agency!
The Ministry must also publicly spell out the terms and conditions on which USTD was appointed and selected.
Why was the privatization contract given to UTSB? A company search done on UTSB reveals that unappropriated profit could exceed RM5.3 billion? So that this cronyism which was engineered during Mahathir era could be furthered nurtured and strengthened during this Abdulah Badawi era, regardless of the principles and requirements of fair competition.
Also a provision was added in the bill for tax on the investments at 20% (10% for the government and 10% for the board) the quantum of tax is made variable for two reasons namely “it may turn out to be necessary to reduce tax. In order to defeat the operations of illegal operators and to give financial support to the board at initial stages if the Board makes excessive profits, to increase tax and reduce commission”. What was left out in the reply to me was that UTSB is now getting a! sizeable portion of the revenue which the Board was receiving earlier. Why need to make the revenues less for the Board?
Further the UTSB need to clarify as to how much money has been used to promote equine sports, as this sport has not made any headway locally.
The Board in its 2004 report states that 34 organizations received grants totaling RM52, 855,474.
The Board gave a huge grant to National Academy of Motor sports (NAM) (company no.621442-U). NAM was registered on 12 July 03 under the Companies Act 1965 as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital.
The pertinent question is how this company was allowed by the authorities concerned to use the word “National”. Who decides on those privileges? Who gives the authority? The right connections? The right connections by virtue of the fact that one of the directors is a well know personality?
How can the NAM be considered an NGO? And why where funds to the tunes of RM47 million in 2002 and 36.8 million in 2004 were disbursed by the Totalisator Board to this company masquerading as an NGO? Why such huge sums? It appears fishy, it smells fish. I call on the relevant authorities including the ACA to investigate this scandalous matter.
How much left for “social and welfare purposes including the welfare of the blind, handicapped and underprivileged, the relief of poverty, the treatment of tuberculosis and fostering of non-political youth movements” as worded under section 20 of the Act
The grants given to the majority of the receiptns are questionable as the objective of providing the grant has not been adhered to. The Board should scrutinize all the past receiptns and ask parties who have wrongly received the monies to return the same.
Has the Board ascertained that monies dispersed to the various organizations have been put to good use?
This stage of affairs is disgraceful and totally unacceptable. A full scale investigation is called for. Parliament should act and act immediately and strongly on this matter.
The Totalisator Board of directors has failed in their duties and should resign forthwith if they have any sense of self respect.
The annual report also mentions that winnings which have not been claimed have not been refunded to the government’s kitty although this is required under the Unclaimed Monies Act. We are given to understand hundreds of millions of ringgit have been unclaimed and it has been shared by the various Turf clubs. The Board must impose severe penalties even withdrawing the rights granted to UTSB.
Also presently all Turf Clubs have an unwritten policy to pay the dividends( on winning tickets) on a round down basis. Which means the winners are short changed. This should not be allowed to happen.
The Totalisator Board has been summoned to appear before The Public Accounts Committee this Wednesday to brief the PAC committee on the 2004 report. It’s hoped that at the meeting the Board could enlighten the members on the matters of public importance as set out above by me.
Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and National Vice Chairman
*M.Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and National Vice Chairman