Perak assembly may debate MAPS’ financial problems next week

John Bunyan
Keranji assemblyman Chong Zhemin speaks to reporters in Ipoh April 17, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, April 17 — A motion proposing that the Perak government intervene in the financial problems faced by Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) could be raised in the state legislative assembly next Tuesday.

Keranji assemblymen Chong Zhemin said that he had submitted the motion to state Speaker Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham two weeks ago.

“The motion is to debate the special internal audit report of MAPS in order to restore the financial status of the theme park.

“We want the state government to step in and support us financially as the previous administration has left the theme park with a total debt amounting RM474.4 million,” he said, referring to Barisan Nasional.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the state assembly, Chong, who is also chairman of the Perak Corporation Berhad (PCB) audit committee, said it is crucial that the motion is debated in the state assembly as the current management is struggling financially. 

“The motion can only be debated if the Speaker allows it. We hope for positive feedback as we are having difficulties paying staff salaries,” he said.

Chong also refuted Opposition leader Datuk Saarani Mohamad’s claims that former Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) chairman Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir should not be blamed for the cost increase incurred for the construction of MAPS as the latter was not a member of PCB Development Berhad’s (PCBD) board of directors.

“In 2013, a report from Ernst and Young revealed that all PKNP’s subsidiary group of companies’ decision-making had been centralised. 

“Yes, a board of directors should be responsible for decision-making in a normal situation, but in the case of MAPS, it’s different as it follows centralised decision-making, thus Zambry, as the former chairman of PKNP, is responsible,” he said.

“Under the PKNP enactment, if any of the subsidiary group of companies wants to apply for loans, they need to get the approval of the PKNP chairman and also the finance minister,” Chong added. 

Perak Opposition leader Datuk Saarani Mohamad addresses the state assembly in Ipoh April 17, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Earlier, Saarani in his speech at the state assembly said that Zambry should not be blamed for the cost of MAPS doubling during construction and alleged that Chong was making baseless accusations against the former mentri besar.

“There was no accusation made. I was only asking and submitted questions on MAPS based on the special audit report findings,” said Chong.

PCB is a PKNP subsidiary and owns PCBD, which holds a 51 per cent share in Movie Animation Theme Park. The remaining 49 per cent share belongs to RSG MAPS Sdn Bhd.

Previously, Malay Mail reported that the cost of constructing and developing MAPS ballooned from RM390 million to RM607 million.

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