Malaysia Youth Ministry's procurement process to be reviewed after S$33 million embezzled

Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin giving speech during Umno's general assembly on Dec 9, 2015. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Monday (March 21) he wants an independent task force to look into loopholes in the ministry's procurement procedures after an official was arrested for allegedly embezzling RM100 million (S$33.4 million) of ministry funds.

Mr Khairy said the official, who was arrested by the anti-corruption authorities on Friday, had manipulated a weakness in the procurement process and was able to approve fundings without the minister or the secretary-general's authorisation.

The 56-year-old division secretary has been described as the mastermind of a scheme that siphoned RM100 million in state funds from 2010.

"We want an immediate review to be conducted on all the internal mechanisms and governance process relating to the channeling of funds in our ministry," Mr Khairy told a press conference at his ministry.

"I have discussed with the Chief Secretary of the government on the setting up of an independent task force to identify the loopholes in the procurement process and improve it," he said.

He said the task force would not involve officials from his ministry and pledged the ministry's full support for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) investigation into the case.

"The ministry leaves it to the MACC to take the necessary action. I will continue to support the commission's efforts in eradicating corruption, misappropriation and misuse of power," he said.

The MACC arrested the corruption suspect on Friday along with eight others who were contractors from 14 companies.

The graft-busting agency said the companies were paid money from government coffers for programmes and projects that were never carried out, and gave kickbacks of RM20 million to the official.

The authorities seized 12 luxury cars, jewellery, luxury watches and brand-name handbags and froze 69 bank accounts with total deposits of RM8.33 million.

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