2017 KL SEA Games

Audited 2017 KL SEA Games accounts show flawed governance

The 2017 KL SEA Games accounts have finally been audited – almost two years after the extravagant regional event in Kuala Lumpur which was floored by poor governance.

The document, however, remains with the Finance Ministry as it is one signature short from a member of the main organising committee.

It is understood that Putrajaya-based auditor MGI-AlJeffri had scrutinised the numbers and found:

  • The Malaysia Organising Committee (Masoc) had made a payment of RM9.56 million to a third party vendor, without the approval of the finance committee, as advance to set up the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec) in Kuala Lumpur. The auditor noted the third party company had yet to furnish any supporting documents to show the breakdown of the actual cost to set up the IBC.
  • All payments and transactions for the 2017 KL Games were done through the National Sports Council’s (NSC) Affin Islamic Bank Bhd account. The bank’s reconciliation statement showed RM1,363,812 but the cash and cash equivalents reflected in the 2017 KL Games statement was RM6,496,689.
  • It was also revealed that NSC had, since 2016, spent RM59,215,755 of the funds meant for the organisation of the Games. The Council had used the money for sports development programmes and obtained a “kelulusan berteguran” (reprimand approval) from the Games’ finance committee on Jan 31, 2019.

In light of the findings, the Finance Ministry last month recommended that action be taken against two top sports officials – one of whom retired recently. It remains unclear if and when the duo will face the Youth and Sports Ministry’s disciplinary board.

A total of RM550 million was allocated for the 2017 KL Games. The organisers obtained sponsorship of RM25,667,835 in cash and RM74,061,861 in kind. The breakdown includes:

  • RM85 million on competition and venue equipment and sports management system.
  • RM71 million on the opening and closing ceremonies and other non-sport performances.
  • RM31 million on promotions and publicity.
  • RM23 million on rental of warehouse, computers, photostat machines and space.
  • RM4.5 million on uniforms.

The accounts also revealed that Masoc has still not paid RM843,670 for services rendered during the Games.

The Finance Ministry is also waiting for a member of the main organising committee to sign the audited report. Two signatories are required from the main committee and the finance committee.

Masoc’s advisor was former primer minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak while its chairman was former Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. The deputy chairmen were then Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tunku Imran Ja’afar, Khairy’s deputy Datuk M. Saravanan while Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong was the chief executive officer.

Treasury secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Badri Zahir and former Youth and Sports Ministry secretary-general Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali have signed the audited report on behalf of the finance committee.

An insider, who is familiar with the accounts, maintained there was no element of abuse or corrupt practice but admitted certain things were not done in accordance with strict government guidelines.

“The fact that the Treasury secretary-general and former youth and sports ministry secretary-general had signed the accounts shows that they are willing to put their necks on the line, and they will only do so if they know everything is in order,” said the source.

“Perhaps the others, who aren’t aware of the details, are afraid of inking the document.”

The ranking government official added: “When something like this is highlighted, it is only natural for such a recommendation to be made and those involved will be called to face the disciplinary committee. The internal investigation will also involve officers who worked closely with the key officials to better understand why the money was used in the respective fashion.”

Last month, the 2017 KL SEA Games Report surfaced – minus the accounts. The 739-page book does not provide any detailed insights into the 29th edition of the Games, sans a 14-page commentary by Masoc that mainly recaps the highlights of the Games.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong, had during a visit to Twentytwo13’s office on Jan 3, explained the delay in releasing the accounts was due to the Finance Ministry’s directive for it to be audited externally.

The Games, which saw Malaysia crowned as overall champions with 145 gold medals, came under criticism for among others, late results, wrong Indonesian flag printed on the official souvenir books given to VIPs, and a last-minute change of venue and times (involving Pencak Silat and Muay Thai).

It remains unclear if the organising committee will provide the post-Games summary.