KUALA LUMPUR: The recent Turkey trip for top police officers was not the first junket organised by the Malaysia Totalisator Board.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said prior to this study tour, three trips by senior police officers abroad were approved by the board of directors of the Malaysia Totalisator Board, Bernama quoted him as saying.
A visit from June 12 to 17, 2012, costing RM69,763, was approved by the board of directors on March 27, 2012.
Another, from June 10 to 14, 2014, costing RM95,040, was given the go-ahead on March 20, 2013, he said.
The third visit from May 1 to 6, 2014, costing RM128,400, was approved on Feb 11, 2014.
Lim also said it was not necessary for any decision of the board of directors to be referred to the finance ministry.
As such, he was never informed about the trip to Istanbul by a delegation led by Inspector-General of Police Fuzi Harun. The study tour, to learn about policing online gambling, has caused an uproar over the past few days.
Lim said the board of directors approved the application for the junket, costing RM184,648, on Nov 23, 2017, well before he was appointed finance minister.
“This clearly proves that all the trips were approved during the administration of the Barisan Nasional federal government and when Najib Razak was still the prime minister of Malaysia,” he said.
Following the government’s decision to no longer be directly involved in the gaming operations in the country, the gaming operations of the Malaysia Totalisator Board were privatised to Pan Malaysian Pools Sdn Bhd (Da Mai Cai) on March 14, 1991.
Through privatisation, the Malaysia Totalisator Board currently earns a 5% royalty income from the net profit of the Da Ma Cai forecast numbers draws, averaging RM9 million annually; annual fee of RM10 million from agents and RM6 million annually from telephone betting royalties.
In addition, the board also earned interest from fixed deposits and rentals.
Thus, it doesn’t receive any financial allocation from the government for its operations.
Visit programmes to strengthen enforcement are part of the mandate set for the Malaysia Totalisator Board to improve enforcement activities related to the horse racing industry.
Approval for funding of the programme can only be executed at the level of the board of directors, as set out under Sections 4 and 20 of the Racing (Totalisator Board) Act 1961.