AMPANG: Former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin has no issues if his successor wishes to call in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate claims of leakages in the construction of the RM85 million Mokhtar Dahari National Football Academy in Gambang, Pahang.
Khairy said he had no qualms about being investigated.
“I’m open in this matter. I don’t have any issues with this. I was only responsible for getting allocations and making sure the project proceeded.
“If any leakages occurred, the matter can be reported to anyone. I don’t have any problems,” he told reporters when met after the opening of a gymnasium for children, called “We Rock The Spectrum” here today.
Khairy, however, questioned why the contractor and the Public Works Department (PWD), as the responsible agencies which had overseen the construction of the academy, did not brief Syed Saddiq on the problems at the academy after he took office.
Khairy said as the minister, he had been kept informed of the problems at the academy and remedial action was promised.
“I wish to question why in the last three months the matter was not brought to the minister’s attention.
“As a former minister, I went down to visit the academy, and I have already asked PWD and the contractor to make the necessary repairs, such as to the field.
“It seems like, as reported last Thursday, there are still unresolved issues. But why were these problems not conveyed to the present minister?
“He had to visit the place before he was informed?”
Two days ago, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman did not discount the possibility of getting the MACC involved in investigating the construction of the academy.
Saddiq said while the construction cost was high, this was not reflected in the quality and facilities at the academy.
Saddiq, who visited the site yesterday, was shocked by the damage and lack of facilities there for trainees.
The academy was built in 2016 with the aim of bringing a new dimension to the country’s football arena, with high-performance training and talent exposure on the global stage.
The academy was also seen as the centre for all young footballers from all over the country to get knowledge and skills in football.
‘Teong Kim’s salary commensurate with experience’
The Rembau MP also weighed in on the issue of the salary earned by the academy director, Lim Teong Kim, saying it was commensurate with his experience.
The salary, Khairy said, was based on negotiations done in 2014, when Teong Kim was still a football academy coach with Bayern Munich.
“If you ask me, if you want someone who is experienced like Teong Kim in Europe, then that is the pay grade.
“I leave it to the ministry to renegotiate. I am not sure if he would want it if you offer him (Teong Kim) a lower salary, as he has many opportunities overseas,” he said.
Saddiq was previously criticised for divulging Teong Kim’s salary (RM175,000 tax-free monthly), aside from asking the latter to take responsibility for the national team’s failure in the AFC U-16 Cup campaign.
This comes after Teong Kim’s charges failed to achieve the target set, only managing the group stages, and failing to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Saddiq was adamant in reviewing Teong Kim’s salary package under the National Football Development Programme (NFDP).
Teong Kim was appointed as NFDP director in 2013, before he was also appointed the academy’s director in 2016.
NFDP, which was launched on April 10, 2014, was an idea by Khairy, who wanted world-class football players to be trained and honed at the academy.