Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling
Three questions on the RM50 million Pempena
Group of Companies scandals which Azalina should answer in Parliament
next week since non-functioning Pempena Executive Chairman Chew Mei Fun
has refused to accept accountability
I am posing three questions on the RM50
million Pempena Group of Companies scandals for the Tourism Minister
Datuk Seri Azalina Othman to answer in Parliament next week since the
non-functioning Pempena Executive Chairman Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun has
clamped up and refused to accept accountability.
Firstly, why was PricewaterhouseCooper engaged to conduct a high-level
business review of Pempena’s 14 Investee Companies and not on all its 24
Investee Companies – especially as most of the 24 investee companies
have not been recording operational profits over the last three years.
Out of these selected 14 investee companies reviewed, PwhC has proposed
that Pempena should “exit its investments” from five companies,
suffering an immediate loss of RM20 million. The five companies are:
(i) Malaysia Tourism Executive Sdn Bhd (“Matex”)
(ii) Sri Kebaya Restaurant Sdn Bhd (“Sri Kebaya”)
(iii) Malaysia Restaurant Hyderabad Limited (“Awana Hyderabad”)
PwhC also proposed the liquidation of another
company, My Destination, which will involve a loss of RM7.5 million -
making a total loss of RM27.5 million for the “exiting” from five
companies and the liquidation of one!
But these are not the only losses confronting Tourism Ministry and its
subsidiary, the Pempena Group of Companies as the 10 Pempena Investee
companies which had been deliberately excluded in the PwhC review, are
very sick companies.
These 10 Pempena companies excluded from PwhC review are in very parlous
state as they included six Investee Companies which do not have any
financial information and three Investee Companies with only partial
If these 10 “sick” and even bankrupt Pempena subsidiaries are taken into
account for exiting investment or liquidation, it would mean that as
many as 16 of the 24 Pempena Investee Companies have to be closed down
bringing the total losses to RM40 to RM50 million.
The first question is why these 10 “worst” Pempena Investee Companies
were excluded from PwhC review? What is the fate and future of these 10
What will be the total losses that would be incurred by Pempena Group of
Companies if all the 18 of the 24 subisidary companies are to be closed
Secondly, why was “placement of funds in the money market and units
trusts” one of the three “key activities” of the Pempena business plan,
when the objective of Pempena is to promote tourism?
Azalina should give a full profit and loss report in Parliament of
Pempena’s dabbling in the money market and unit trusts using public
funds meant specifically for promoting tourism.
Thirdly, why is Pempena, the Tourism Ministry and Azalina making a
mockery of the pledge by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi that upholding accountability and integrity will be his final
legacy to the country?
If the Tourism Ministry and Pempena can refuse to table in Parliament
and make public the internal audit report of the RM50 million Pempena
Group of Companies scandals, which were completed more than three months
ago in August, just because it contained a huge can of worms about
fraud, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of public funds and
abuse of power, what is the difference between the last months of the
Abdullah premiership as compared to the last five years of Abdullah
administration or the previous 22-year Mahathir premiership?
The Pempena Executive Chairman Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun should be
answering these questions but she does not seem to realize or appreciate
that she is paid RM10,000 a month by taxpayers and has refused to accept
accountability as the CEO of Pempena.
I am still waiting for Chew’s application and cv as she had asked
whether I would employ and “feed” her if she is no more Pempena
However, Chew should realize that one of the essential conditions of
service if I employ her is that she must accept the principles of
accountability, transparency and good governance. Maybe Pempena and the
Ministry of Tourism are the only places where she could get away with
impunity with her irresponsible attitude of clamping up and refusing to
accept responsibility and accountability which comes from her job
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor