DAP wants Najib cited over Ascot deal
UPDATED @ 03:29:36 PM 08-06-2010By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani June 08, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — The DAP demanded today that Finance Minister and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for allegedly misleading Parliament over a sports betting licence purportedly issued to a company controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
Its Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua claimed that the Finance Ministry had misled Parliament when in its written reply to a question it denied awarding a sports betting licence to Tan’s Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd.
Pua pointed out that Berjaya Corporation, a public-listed company controlled by Tan, had confirmed that the Finance Minister has awarded the license to Ascot in a filing last month to Bursa Malaysia about its acquisition of Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd.
“The Minister of Finance has given its approval for the re-issuance to Ascot of the license to carry out sports betting operations upon certain terms and conditions,” Berjaya Corporation said in its filing.
Pua said that the Ministry of Finance reply was in direct contradiction to Berjaya’s filing.
“This is in direct contradiction to what the finance minister had announced yesterday. It is a clear and direct contradiction. One of the terms announced by the Finance Minister yesterday was that public feedback was required.
“If public feedback was required I think Berjaya Group would have put that necessary announcement. However, they made no reference to that,” he said.
He also urged Najib to clarify the status of the betting license.
“We want the Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib to clarify and state clearly if they have actually issued an approval and what are the conditions. The conditions could not have included public feedback.
“If he has then it is a serious breach of parliamentary privileges and I think there is no reason why he should not be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for this particular error,” he said.
Pua said that the confusion over the license would affect investor confidence.
“On the 12 of May when the announcement was made, Berjaya Corporation shares traded at its highest volume for the year. It traded at 44,680,000 shares. Highest for the year and that day the shares hit a high of RM1.72. Today after the Finance Minister’s announcement, the price is RM1.39. It has dropped by 19 per cent, who will bear the cost?” he asked.
Rasah MP Anthony Loke questioned why the government has chosen to remain silent.
“Why is there not a single official from the finance ministry to come out and deny that the license had not been given. The impression given to the whole world is that the license has been given and this has confused the members of the public especially the investor community.
“If the license has not been given, why is the prime minister so afraid in denying it? He has not once answered over this issue and remains mum on this issue.”
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