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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, May 6: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) reps are requesting the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to look into allegedly shady deals within Amanah Saham Sarawak Berhad (Assar).
Dr Ting Tiong Choon (Pujut-DAP), in his debate on the TYT’s speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) this afternoon, said according to the Interim Report of Assar dated February 8, 2019, which he received two weeks ago, the trust fund stated that net asset had been reduced by 62 per cent in 2018, from RM35 million to RM13 million ringgit.
“There are currently 62,361 unitholders of Assar holding a total of more than 457 million units. Each of these units is guaranteed the par value of RM1 by the state government.
“As of Dec 31, 2018, the net asset value for one unit of Assar is a mere 2.9 sen, and the state government is liable for the rest 97.1 sen for each unit as guarantor.
“Most of the assets in Assar is in cash or bank deposits or non-trading stocks,” he said.
Dr Ting said he would lodge a report with the PAC and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) if the state government did not clarify the irregularity in the august House.
“Assar is a Sarawak government-linked investment holding company. It was set up in 1993 with the aim of providing opportunities for Bumiputera Sarawak to enter mainstream cash and equity economy collectively.
“And I believe most unitholders are from the rural Dayak communities, where cash compensation for compulsory acquisition of native customary rights (NCR) land was channelled to Amanah Saham Sarawak for long term ‘growth and income fund’,” he said.
Dr Ting also said with the total assets of the fund now at only RM31.8 million, where 80 per cent is in cash, it would be inconceivable that Assar would be able to make a profit again.
He said the income for the fund now would be minimal and yet the management fee has been in excess of RM7 million a year.
“The management fee is exorbitant because the fee of 1.5 per cent to manage the fund includes the guarantee of RM444 million by the state government. So Assar paid an extra of RM6.66 million to the fund manager for doing nothing. Why?” Dr Ting asked.
He also revealed that Assar had a current liability of more than RM18 million to the fund manager as of Dec 31, 2018.
In other words, he explained, the fund manager had not been paid for more than two and a half years.
“In fact, this fund’s expenditure has been consistently more than its income for the past few years. In 2019, the cost for managing Assar is going to be more than 50 per cent of the unit value and that is certainly not viable,” Dr Ting pointed out. — DayakDaily