Perak state investment arm paid subcontractors' salaries

IPOH: State-owned Perak Corporation Berhad Development (PCBD) paid the salaries of sub-contractors hired by the main contractor of the Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) here, a total of RM14.86mil.

This was discovered from Perak Corporation Berhad's (PCB) special audit.

PCB's audit committee chairman Chong Zhemin said it was weird enough for PCBD to pay these salaries, but "what was more shocking" is that the amount paid was not supported by any documents.

"Why was PCBD liable for the main contractor's debts? This raise questions of abuse and misappropriation of funds in PCBD," he told a press conference at MAPS here Friday (April 12).

The Keranji assemblyman has been raising questions on the theme park's cost overrun, and has been challenging former mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir to explain the increase.

He has said that Zambry, as the former chairman of the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP), must be fully responsible and accountable for the cost overrun in MAPS.

On March 23, Chong had revealed that MAPS received RM217mil in additional funding for its construction and development.

However, Zambry later issued a statement saying that he was getting ready for the barrage of allegations and accusations from Pakatan Harapan at the coming Perak state assembly sitting starting next Tuesday (April 16).

He also accused Chong of subjecting him to a "trial by media" with his allegations.

At today's press conference, Chong also said that Animation Theme Park Sdn Bhd (ATP), in which PCBD holds a 51% interest, paid the salaries of the main contractor's employees amounting to RM14.36mil.

"This is absolutely insane and dumbfounding, and why did Zambry allow this?

"The main contractor should be responsible for paying its staff because ATP had already paid them in full the RM324.39mil for the construction of MAPS.

"I urge Zambry to immediately provide the people of Perak with a satisfactory answer.

"He needs to be fully responsible for the financial impact this decision has on ATP, PCB and also PKNP," he added.

Chong also alleged that ATP paid RM1.78mil in excess for a ride known as "Lake Coaster", when there were no plans to install such a ride.

He said although the certification of works for the ride was only RM20.3mil, ATP made a total payment of RM22mil to the main contractor.

"Parts of the ride are currently on empty land beside MAPS, and we have a current offer for the ride at RM11.48mil from a potential buyer.

"Even if we sell, ATP will be making a loss of RM10.52mil.

"If we install the ride, it will cost ATP between RM3mil and RM4mil," he added.

Chong said another attraction, the RM285,000 "selfie broadwalk", was shut down less than a year after the soft launch of MAPS.

"The previous management decided to shut down the 100m walk area on June 11, 2018, due to safety reasons.

"Is it worth the quality to construct the attraction at RM285,000, which was required to be shut down less than a year into operation?" he said.