Sukom 98 chief ‘ordered’ to close Games accounts, even though millions of ringgit ‘were still floating around’

General (Rtd) Tun Mohamed Hashim Mohd Ali claims Sukom Ninety Eight Bhd’s accounts should have been in the black. The only reason it showed a loss was because he was only given a month to close the books in 2004.

The ex-chairman of Sukom Ninety Eight Bhd, the company formed to run the 1998 Commonwealth Games, added “millions of ringgit were still floating around” when he was ordered to close the company’s accounts.

Asked why he didn’t object, Hashim said he raised his concerns and pleaded for more time.

“I was asked to close the books in 2004. When I said I needed six more months, I was told, ‘No, close it now’,” Hashim told Twentytwo13 at his residence in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, on March 17.

“I said ‘Look, we have millions (of ringgit) still floating around’. But the (then) Youth and Sports Ministry officials told me I had to close the books. I had a month to do so.”

Hashim said if he had been granted the time he had asked for, Sukom 98 would have shown a profit.

In 2004, then Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, announced that Sukom Ninety Eight Berhad had finally closed its accounts, posting a loss of RM11.6 million.

However, in 2010, Sukom 98 executive chairman, Datuk Nik Mahmud Nik Yusuf, revealed that the company couldn’t close the accounts as they had pending court cases and required more time to settle its debts.

“There should have been a surplus, a profit, not a loss,” said Hashim, fondly known as Freddie.

“But I don’t know where the money went.”

Hashim said his plan, which he had put in writing, was for any surplus money or profit to be given to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).

“But OCM didn’t get anything,” he lamented.

Meanwhile, Hashim, who is not in favour of Malaysia stepping in to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, said if the country were to go ahead with the idea, it has to do so without using taxpayers’ money.

The Cabinet will decide on Friday if Malaysia should replace Victoria, Australia, as host of the 2026 edition. Victoria withdrew in July 2023, citing that the Games’ budget had skyrocketed to almost A$7 billion (RM21.69 billion) – double the anticipated economic benefits.

On March 11, OCM said the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had offered the country the chance to host the Games, with a significant financial investment of £100 million (RM602 million) to support the local delivery and legacy planning of the 2026 edition.

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