DAP assemblyman wants PAC to probe Amanah Saham Sarawak

06 May 2019 / 18:24 H.

KUCHING: DAP Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon has recommended that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) conduct a full investigation on Amanah Saham Sarawak (ASS), a Sarawak government-linked investment holding company.

He said the PAC should investigate the viability of the fund’s operation before the case is taken up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“Two weeks ago, I was given this Interim Report of Amanah Saham Sarawak dated 8 Feb, 2019.

“The fund has lost RM4.3 million in the last six months, and most of these losses were due to ludicrous management fees,“ he said when debating the motion of thanks for Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud’s address at the State Legislative Assembly here.

He said there are 62,361 unit holders of ASS, holding a total of more than 457 million units. Each unit is guaranteed a par value of RM1 by the Sarawak government.

He told the House that it was set up in 1993 with the aim of providing opportunity for Sarawak Bumiputras to enter mainstream cash and equity economy collectively.

“And I believe most unit holders are from rural Dayak communities where cash compensation for compulsory acquisition of NCR land was channelled to Amanah Saham Sarawak for long-term ‘growth and income fund’,“ he said.

However, Dr Ting said as of Dec 31, 2018, the net asset value for one unit of ASS was a mere 2.9 sen and the Sarawak government was liable for the balance 97.1 sen for each unit as guarantor.

The net asset of ASS dropped by 62% in 2018, from RM35 million to RM13 million, with most of the asset in cash or bank deposit or non-trading stocks, he said.

He said Sarawakians entrusted their government to manage the state resources and the successive Barisan Nasional / Gabungan Parti Sarawak governments had performed poorly in the past 55 years.

“In ASS, the real monies of Sarawak Bumiputra unit holders and the Sarawak government have virtually disappeared in front of their eyes,“ he said, adding that the total asset of the fund was now only RM31.8 million (80% in cash).

Ting said it was also interesting to note that ASS had a current liability of more than RM18 million to the fund manager as on Dec 31, 2018, and it was inconceivable that the fund would be making profit again.

“The income for the fund is now minimal and yet the management fee is in excess of RM7 million a year,“ he said, adding that the management fee was exorbitant because the management fee of 1.5% of managed fund included the guarantee of RM444 million by the Sarawak government.

“So Amanah Saham Sarawak paid an extra of RM6.66 million to the fund manager for doing nothing. Why?” he queried.

“If five of the most qualified persons in Sarawak sitting on the Board of Directors for ASS, who are mainly from Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) if not all, are not able to safeguard our asset, how can Sarawakians expect GPS to preserve our resources and to protect our rights as Anak Sarawak?” he added. — Bernama

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