Damn good story, this one! I would be wearing a satisfied look if I were the one who broke this story.
Congratulations Haresh Deol and the Malay Mail.
Take a well deserved break and I know our afternoons will never be the same again after May 5.
I heard some senior journalists were not happy to be scooped!
NSC's RM22m bill raises eyebrows
By HARESH DEOL
THE National Sports Council (NSC) spent a whopping RM22.4 million for professional services, celebrations and hospitality in 2006, more than four times it had spent in 2003.
In audited reports made exclusively available to The Malay Mail covering 2003 to 2006, the council had spent RM22,335,867 in 2006 compared to the RM5,528,412 in 2003.
RM6.83 million was spent in 2004 and RM13.85 million in 2005. There were other points of contention.
NSC's spending also earned a ticking off from Deputy Auditor-General Datuk Azizah Arshad, who remarked in the 2006 audited report that the council must only spend on projects with approved budgets.
Azizah also reminded the council to be frugal in its spending, citing the example of how it had recorded excessive spending of RM86.55 million under the National Sports Trust Account (Akaun Amanah Sukan Negara) in 2006, despite only having a budget of RM45 million. The account is used for administrative purposes.
She had pointed out that the council had a surplus of RM74.7 million in the same account in 2005.
Sources told The Malay Mail that this had raised the eyebrows of some of the present NSC members who had taken over from their predecessors.
"In just over four years, the spending in this area alone had skyrocketed," said a source.
"This expenditure included entertainment, consultancy and event management."
According to copies of the reports, the council had also recorded inflated spending in three other areas. They were:
# National Sports Awards: In 2003, RM261,102 was spent, compared to RM1,237,342, more than five times that amount, in 2006; and,
# Malaysia Games (Sukma): In 2003, they spent RM11,251 to prepare for the 2004 Sukma Games that cost the council RM282,987. In 2005, it spent RM6,589 to prepare for the following year's games which eventually cost RM3,371,555; and
# For coaching and officials: In 2003, the council had spent RM496,895 but in 2006, the figure went up to RM1,052,170; (see accompanying table for details)
The source said in the case of the National Sports Awards, the jump in expenditure had baffled many as the number of recipients and prize money awarded had remained unchanged over the years.
National shuttler Lee Chong Wei and squash queen Nicol David were the winners of the 2006 National Sports Awards, pocketing RM10,000 each while paralympic athletes Mohd Salam Sidik (archery) and Siow Lee Chan (power lifting) also received RM10,000 each. There were other minor awards that did not pay as much.
"That only accounts for some RM40,000 out of the more than a million spent. Where did the rest go to," asked the source.
The source said in the case of the Sukma Games, questions have been raised on why the NSC had spent in Kedah (2006) more than 10 times than the RM300,000-odd that it did for the Negri Sembilan Sukma (2004).
While some of the money had been spent to renovate and build new facilities, no one has explained what had happened to the RM87 million additional sponsorship secured by the organiser, the Kedah State Sports Council (which is affiliated to the NSC)), said the source.
"This has not even factored in the RM100 entrance fee the individual athletes had to pay. If you go by the average of 5,000 athletes, the organisers would have collected RM500,000. That alone is close to one-sixth the expenditure chalked up by the NSC for the event (through its grant to the Kedah State Sports Council."
The source said participants in the Negri Sembilan Sukma had been charged RM20 each.
And the Kedah Sukma Games did not even organise volleyball, tennis, judo and cricket unlike previous editions!
The Auditor-General's reports bore the signatures of the former Sports Minister, who was also the NSC chairman, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the then NSC director-general, Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz, and council member Datuk Mohd Yasin Salleh.
Efforts to get Dr Ramlan over the last week proved futile.