GEORGE TOWN: A Penang-based political party lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today on claims that local government councils here bought vanity awards using ratepayers’ money.
The report was lodged by Penang Front Party (PFP) president Patrick Ooi, who demanded an investigation into possible graft after the councils admitted money was paid for the awards although it was not taken from council coffers.
A United Kingdom newspaper reported recently that Europe Business Assembly (EBA) allegedly gave out awards for a fee.
Penang’s Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) and Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had received awards from the EBA in 2013 and 2014.
Federal agencies and public universities also were reported to have received awards from the EBA.
“This is sheer embarrassment for the people of Penang, as it involves two local governments under the state government led by CM Lim Guan Eng.
“More questions were raised when Lim refused to comment on this issue.
“As usual, he will ask people under him to answer but when there are things he can take credit for, he will be on the frontline to answer or give statements,” Ooi said when contacted.
Ooi said Lim ought to give full disclosure on how the awards were given and how money was paid to the EBA as “entry fees”, as admitted by a local council official.
The official admitted the council had paid nearly RM40,000 to the EBA as “entry fees” for the awards. The official however claimed to have been unaware the outfit was not genuine. The council also asserted the money was not from ratepayers.
In their report, the PFP urged the MACC to investigate former MBPP mayor Patahiyah Ismail, who received the “Best Manager Award” by the EBA; current mayor of MBPP and immediate past president of MPSP Maimunah Mohd Sharif as well as the chief minister.
“They say others, too, have received the awards. You already know the awards could be dubious but why take them anyway? You already know it is an offence, why do it anyway?
“Better for you to come clean,” Ooi said.
FMT has contacted the Chief Minister’s office for comment and is awaiting their reply.