PETALING JAYA: The confusion in the top management of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) has intensified, with president Datuk Sarbini Tijan flatly denying that he is implicated in an investigation into alleged fraud pertaining to procurement matters.
When contacted by StarBiz, Sarbini said he was being unfairly targeted and stressed that no acts of fraud involving procurement had taken place under his leadership of KTMB.
“There were no irregularities in the procurement of goods and services nor transfers of any assets authorised by me as KTMB president.
“A confidential report by a local legal firm found that nothing wrong has been committed on my part.
“The report even called for my reinstatement as president of KTMB,” said Sarbini, adding that he believed that there could be ulterior motives for implicating him in the alleged fraud.
Sarbini has been asked to go on leave pending the conclusion of an internal investigation. While it has been about two months since Sarbini went on his long leave, the investigation has yet to be concluded.
It was reported that an internal investigation had commenced following a procurement worth millions of ringgit allegedly having been done without KTMB’s board of directors’ approval.
Instead of matters relating to procurement, Sarbini believed that he was being targeted in relation to his actions in handling KTMB’s operations along the Malaysia-Thailand border.
He claimed that he had received instructions from the Transport Ministry on the matter.
Sarbini said the instructions authorised him to carry out rail operations across the Malaysia-Thailand border to overcome border congestion and combat illegal smuggling activities, among others.
“I was merely carrying out government instruction,” he said.
Sarbini remarked that currently, there was lack of action to resolve disruptions in KTMB’s intercity train services, following the recent landslide in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Towards this end, he felt that politicians should not be involved in business operations.
The loss-making railway service operator was corporatised in 1992 but has not been able to financially sustain itself.