Pempena Police report – “looting of people’s money using tourism as a front’

I thank the Tourism Minister, Datuk Azalina Othman for giving me a copy of the Summary Report of the PricewaterhouseCooper review of Tourism Ministry’s subsidiary, Pempena Group of Companies but I will write to her for a copy of the Final Report, as the implicit promise she made in Parliament during her winding-up of the 2009 Budget debate on Nov. 3 was for a full and unqualified disclosure of the PricewaterhouseCooper report.

I must admit that I am somewhat surprised by the PricewaterhouseCooper summary report as the Tourism Minister had led Parliament to believe that it is an audit of the various financial scandals of the Pempena Group of Companies, but clearly this important brief was excluded from PricewaterhouseCooper’s terms of reference, which is a clinical “high level business review” of selected investments by Pempena Sdn. Bhd and “specifically does not include any investigative audit or forensics work”.

In fact, it is mentioned in the PricewaterhouseCooper summary report that the investigation into the various financial scandals in the Pempena Group of Companies are “separately performed internally” in an internal audit of Pempena.

Why did Azalina hide the fact from Parliament that there had been an internal audit by the Tourism Minsitry of the various financial scandals of its stable of Pempena Group of Companies, which includes its affiliates Malaysian Travel Business Travel Sdn. Bhd and SD Corp Communication Sdn. Bhd and that such an internal audit had been completed by 14th August 2008?

Is Azalina prepared to table the Tourism Ministry’s internal audit inquiry into the various financial scandals of the Pempena Group of Companies in Parliament?

I will also write to Azalina for a copy of the internal audit report of the Tourism Ministry on the various financial scandals on its stable of subsidiary companies costing the public taxpayers tens of millions of ringgit of unjustifiable losses.

The Pempena scandals can be divided into two categories:

    first, those which occurred before Azalina became Tourism Minister after the March general election and for which Azalina need not assume personal responsibility; and

    second, those committed after the 2008 general election for which Azalina must bear full responsibility and accountability.

In my speech on the 2009 budget on October 15, I had referred to the Oct. 13, 2008 expose by the Sun in the report “Over the limit…PSD ALLOWS MINISTER ONLY EIGHT STAFF, BUT 20 ON TOURISM MINISTRY’S PAYROLL”, calling in Parliament for a full explanation for the serious allegation that the tourism minister’s office “has excess baggage”, being overstaffed as “the appointment of some 20 staff breaches the Public Services Department (PSD)’s regulations limiting the appointments to only eight” and that “it defies a Treasury circular on cost-cutting and austerity”.

The Tourism Minister had in fact three special officers, five political officers, one research officer, six information technology (IT) officers and given support staff. As only the PSD can approve the new appointments, the guidelines were circumvented by getting Tourism Ministry subsidiary Pempena Sdn. Bhd and its affiliates Malaysian Travel Business Travel Sdn. Bhd and SD Corp Communication Sdn. Bhd to pay their salary.

One such appointment is Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, who is the executive director of Pempena and paid RM10,000 and is provided with a car and driver.

These belonged to the second category of the Pempena scandals as they all happened after Azalina became Tourism Minister after the March 8 general election and for which she must give proper accounting.

In my speech on October 15, I also spoke on the financial scandals in the various Tourism Ministry projects including the RM30 million for Malaysia Kitchen, the RM10 million for E-Tourism Portal, and the multi-million ringgit Pempena Teksi Service (Pets) scandal. These belonged to the first category of Pampena scandals as they first happened before Azalina became Tourism Minister although the various financial improprieties continue under Azalina’s term.

When Azalina replied in Parliament on Nov. 3, I returned to the two categories of Pampena scandals. I mentioned for instance that the “padding” of Azalina’s retinue of “excessive staff” in breach of PSD regulations by getting Pempena to employ them has created the ridiculous situation where most of these “excessive” staff were on the 36th floor of PWTC (Azalina’s Ministerial office) and not in the offices of Pempena and its other affiliate companies like SD Corporation.

There was no satisfactory reply from Azalina for padding Tourism Ministry’s Pempena Group of Companies with highly-paid “political operatives” like Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, after she was defeated in the Petaling Jaya Utara parliamentary election.

Chew’s most memorable contribution to political discourse in Malaysia must be her warning of another May 13 if Chinese representation in Barisan Nasional is insufficient.

Be that as it may, now that she has been elected uncontested as the MCA Wanita Chairman, is she going to resign and return the monthly RM10,000 salary with driver and car as executive director for Pampena Sdn. Bhd, Deputy Chairman of Malaysia Travel Business Sdn. Bhd and Board Member of Malaysia Convention and Incentive Bureau?

Azalina should public the full list of the 20 appointees she brought into the Tourism Ministry, whether appointed directly by the Ministry or indirectly by the various Tourism Ministry subsidiary or affiliate companies, and to justify such expenditures when the Tourism Ministry and the Pempena Group of Companies are already suffering tens of millions of ringgit of losses from a string of financial improprieties and scandals.

Azalina should also explain whether it is true that although her retinue of “excessive” ministerial staff were inserted and absorbed into the various Pempena Group of Companies in mid-May this year, the appointments were backdated to April 1, 2008.

PricewaterhouseCooper summary report on “High Level Business Review of Pempena Group of Companies”

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should schedule an early inquiry into the financial scandals of the Tourism Ministry’s Pempena Group of Companies, making full use of the PricewaterhouseCooper and the Tourism Ministry’s interal audit reports.

The PricewaterhouseCooper summary report is a shocking report of the incompetence, ineptitude, irresponsibility and even criminal breach of trust prevalent in GLCs.

PricewaterhouseCooper is recommending that out of the RM54.4 million Pempena investments in 24 investee companies as at June 2008, it should exit its investments from five companies suffering an immediate loss of some RM20 million!

In its “high-level financial performance review” of the 24 Pempena Investee companies, PricewaterhouseCooper found that 6 Investee Companies do not any financial information while three Investee Companies have partial financial information.

Heads must roll for such incompetence and ineptitude.

However, it would appear that it is not just incompetence and ineptitude but crimes of criminal breach of trust and even corruption are in play in the can of worms in the stable of financial scandals of the Tourism Ministry’s Pempena Group of Companies, as revealed by the internal audit report.

This has been reported by the country’s investigative journalist par excellence , Citizen Nades, R. Nadeswaran, in his latest expose “Let them rot in jail” in The Sun yesterday:

Lets take three quotations from Nadeswaran’s report:

    1. Two audit reports – one done internally and another by PriceWaterhouseCoopers – have revealed the intrigues, the manipulation of funds, fraud, deception and above all, a lack of common sense which a reasonable person is expected to do when he is entrusted with public money.

    Instead of acting as people with business acumen, they acted as godfathers and Santa Clauses, dishing out money from a bottomless pit. There were no due diligence tests with supposed partners; there were no checks on current market rates, but what is more damning is their failure to take action to recover monies which is rightfully theirs.

    For example, Pempena advanced RM300,000 to one Umi Hafilda (does the name ring a bell?) for a Amir Diab Live in Kuala Lumpur concert. The report says that “Pempena did not even sight the contract between the parties before issuing the cheque” and as expected, the concert did not take place…

    When the concert did not materialise, she issued three cheques to Pempena – all of them bounced – there was no money in her account. What did Pempena do? Sat with arms folded because those in the know were aware that she was an undischarged bankrupt, one of the report states.

    2. Some of these companies operated as if there were no norms or rules to govern them. Some of the people running them considered the companies to be their own fiefdoms and their private bank, drawing monies through dubious means.

    They ventured in businesses and deals that were sure losers from the start. Why in the world would a government-owned company get involved in businesses in which it neither has the expertise nor the experience?

    Were feasibility studies done before millions of taxpayers’ money was pumped in? Did those who made the decisions ask themselves: Why do we want to get into such businesses when our core business is promoting tourism?

    3. The report states that Pempena bought one million shares at RM1 each in a company called SD Corp Sdn Bhd, which had forecast a turnover of RM8 million and a profit of RM100,000 for the first year. But the company ran up a loss of RM2 million. To add insult to injury, Pempena paid RM2.1 million for the shares but the share certificates had yet to be delivered as of July 31.

    But more shocking are the claims that minutes of meetings of the board of directors of Pempena had been changed by hidden hands. The internal audit confirms this by saying: “The amendments of the minutes are a serious offence as it involves the appointment of contractors without going through the proper process. No action was taken against those responsible for changing the minutes although it was brought to the attention of the management.”

Tomorrow, I will lodge a police report for the full brunt of the law to be applied to what Nadeswarn has described as “the looting the people’s money carried by a few officials using tourism as a front” for the guilty in the stable of Tourism Ministry and Pempena financial scandals to be brought to justice.

(Media Conference Statement in Parliament)

  1. #1 by k1980 on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 12:18 pm

    Another case of looting of the people’s money: When petroleum was at USD125 a barrel, electricity tariffs shot up through the roof.
    Now petroleum is at USD52 a barrel, electricity tariffs cannot be brought down because “Tenaga generates its electricity using coal and natural gas”.

    So why was the electricity tariffs raised in the first place? Can umno please explain?

  2. #2 by izrafeil on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 12:22 pm

    Dear Uncle Lim,
    I know already the outcome of your impending police report… just like the Malay saying… ‘like raindrops falling on yam leaves only” but if the supposed perpertrator is somebody named Ronnie Liu, he or she will be handcuffed and treated like bloody murderer!!!

  3. #3 by All For The Road on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 1:13 pm

    Pempena’s shady deals and mismanagement should be exposed and brought to the forefront of today’s news for all to know. The appointment and salary of the executive director of Pempena invites questions and query from the Tourism Ministry. Who would want to relinquish a poshy post with a lucrative salary and comfortable remunerations for just sitting on the job and do nothing?

    The Tourism Minister should come out plain and give a satisfactory and reasonable explanation on the Pempena financial scandals without further delay. If not, then the public demands a RM10 cut from her monthly allowance!

  4. #4 by Godfather on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 1:21 pm

    Scandal after scandal – that’s the UMNO way. What is also glaringly obvious is the fact that Umi Hafilda could have access to a bank account when she is an undischarged bankrupt. It shows the standard of our banking industry – know who overrides know-how.

    In any case, issuing cheques knowing that they would bounce is a criminal offence of cheating, so let’s see if the AG’s Chambers would do something about this, or whether Umi Hafilda’s role in a high profile case 10 years ago would make her “untouchable”.

  5. #5 by frankyapp on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 1:45 pm

    Hey guys,don’t have to shout out loud any more as I have already made it very clear that there’s an endless list of scandal to be exposed in days,weeks,months and years to come. Just keep posted.

  6. #6 by lextcs on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 2:07 pm

    poohboh yb kit….looks like kit junior is doing ‘shit’ in penang king of tennis debacle….bikin tak serupa cakap….pordah lah

  7. #7 by kftang on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 2:10 pm

    The poor paying taxpayers are mighty sick of so many despicable scandals plaguing and confronting the country now. Scandals……….scandals……….and scandals! Maybe more to come?
    When will all these end?

    It’s time for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to come forward and take over the federal government with help from Sabah and Sarawak. The rakyat can’t wait for the next GE. It should be NOW and remove all the woes of the nation!

  8. #8 by Damocles on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 2:21 pm

    Uncle Lim, obviously this agency is providing very cushy jobs for cronies.
    Whatever happened prior to her taking over must also be investigated so that the person on whose watch such irregularities happened will be held fully accountable for them.
    Other agencies must also be checked for irregularities as well.

  9. #9 by Damocles on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 2:29 pm

    The most galling part of such expose is that nothing can be done about it other than exposing it!!!
    To wait for the next GE in the hope of overturning this government is too far off.
    Before then, there’ll be nothing left in the treasury!

  10. #10 by madmix on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 3:03 pm

    DAP should push for Pempena to be wound up and closed forever. Ministries like the tourism ministry have no business doing business.

  11. #11 by pathfinder on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 4:03 pm

    I CURSE.
    I curse those who voted for those blood suckers who are now taxing us instead of subsidizing us for the petrol. I curse those who voted for those who uses the police against the rakyats instead of criminals. I curse those who uses the Malay rights to enrich their own pockets. I curse those who after 50 years of governing cannot even achieved 30 percent of the Malay Equity.
    I CURSE those who fail the malay race and now blame the others for the failures.

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 4:17 pm

    Citizen Nades, R. Nadeswaran asks, “why in the world would a government-owned company get involved in businesses in which it neither has the expertise nor the experience?” In relation to politics, “instead of acting as people with business acumen, they acted as godfathers and Santa Clauses, dishing out money from a bottomless pit”, Nadeswaran observed.

    Well, if they were really good businessmen they would try make money in business than join politics to do so (unless one is naïve to think they join politics to serve rakyat/people).

    Politicians can afford to be be cavalier because they are dishing out public moneys and not their own money.

    Unlike entrepreneurs who spend their own capital and hence have to exercise financial prudence.

    But in the case of politicians, the more they spend the better, so that there is round tripping and the mark up may be re-routed back by cronies/proxies, without the politicians themselves being seen dipping their hands directly in the public till.

    It has been like that here and everywhere else : it is always private gain at public expense facilitated by holding public office, and the reason for vying for public office in the fisrt place.

    It is nothing out of the ordinary.

  13. #13 by bc on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 4:48 pm

    Hallo! Everyone if do not set up new business how do you expect we to rob the money leh, even without the expertise nor the experience we do not care, it is not our money mah.

    The aim is to steal n rob. We used to be always n nobody care.

    Please do not forget we used to be have a lot of pirate in the strait of malaca…ok.

  14. #14 by ktteokt on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 5:24 pm

    Typical Malaysian style lah! Tenaga was the first to raise its price when price of petrol was raised by 78 sen. It was telling the whole world its cost went up because diesel went up.

    Now that petrol prices have dropped, why the hell is the electricity tariff still so high! What sort of excuse is TNB going to give? That is produces electricity using GOLD??? Even gold prices have dropped! And our PM has the cheeks to ask why prices of commodities are not coming down! Go ask TNB first lah!!!!!

  15. #15 by rubini on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 5:26 pm

    Keeping Digging Uncle Lim, let the Malaysian public be aware of the bottomless pit of scandals which BN government is without any shame scandalously rob the poor peoples money.

  16. #16 by taiking on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 6:33 pm

    k1980 said:

    “Another case of looting of the people’s money: When petroleum was at USD125 a barrel, electricity tariffs shot up through the roof.
    Now petroleum is at USD52 a barrel, electricity tariffs cannot be brought down because “Tenaga generates its electricity using coal and natural gas”.

    So why was the electricity tariffs raised in the first place? Can umno please explain?”

    You see coal and natural gas are different words for the same thing i.e. petroleum. They are all the same. So when umno speak of coal, they meant petrol or gas. The point is they all come from the ground under our feet. So that is why they are all the same. I mean if you keep coal long enough it would turn into petrol and when you have petrol then some natural gas would form.

    So that is why TNB is entitle to raise electricity when petrol price increased and not lower it now that petrol price has dropped. Because you see its all about coal and gas. The whole point is when petrol is high TNB uses petrol and when coal and gas is high TNB uses coal and gas. That is basic economics. Simple.

    And when all of them are high then they all become the same – well they are the same arent they? Coal, gas, petrol. Yeah they are the same. So when petrol is cheap then electricity must be expansive. Get the idea?

    I have a PhD in petroleum economics from an university which really ought to rank on par with Harvard and Oxford if only those guys are not bias and review our universities properly.

  17. #17 by storm62 on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 6:35 pm

    poohboh lu lextcs, 14:07:01

    go read yr news properly before you talk kok.

    LGE already says it’s private business failed by the organisers la. go and ask adriana yeoh before you comment.

    pooh nia boh.

  18. #18 by monsterball on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 8:59 pm

    For final report…she has to get Najib’s approval first.
    That’s how good a Tourism minister she is…no initiative….no management skill..that’s why need much more assistants…no good foreign language….not even English.
    She is actually… good for nothing.
    And UMNO loves her the most..because she won seat ..uncontested.
    Have we not seen….low class teachers.. and taxi drivers….all important ministers or in Supreme Council in UMNO??
    My goodness!! Tun and Tan Sri given…and why not…driving big expensive cars…with stolen money.
    That is always their ways…to show off….to FORCE Malaysians..especially the kampong folks…hero worship them….how successful they are……..protectors of the race and religion….to keep voting them in.
    Protecting from hantus…akang datang…..bulum sampai….for 50 years.

  19. #19 by sans on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 10:37 pm

    Uncle Lim, let me bring to your attention the below as well.

    Jom Makan, owned by Perbananan Nasional. It says there are 50 Malaysian in the UK, so why is it investing RM9m in one more? it makes no sense. If you want to enchance Malaysian food you should promote our halal and non-halal food production. If you go into any oriental store overseas, you will find most of the canned, preserved food is from Malaysia and this is without any active govt. involvement (which may be best).

    Jom Makan Offers ‘Roti Canai’ In London
    10 JUNE 2008 – NST

    LONDON: Efforts to promote Malaysia as a culinary destination among British tourists will get a big push with the opening of a Jom Makan restaurant in the posh area of Pall Mall here.

    The outlet, established under the MalaysiaKitchen programme of the Malaysian government, will be officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tomorrow night.

    With a seating capacity of 140, Jom Makan offers some 50 all-Malaysian menu items, from roti canai to nasi lemak, teh tarik and char kuey teow, at prices affordable by London standards.

    Malaysian High Commissioner Datuk Abd Aziz Mohammed said the restaurant would enhance the profile of Malaysian food in the UK.

    Malaysia has hitherto been known more for its nature and natural beauties among foreign visitors.
    About 280,000 British tourist arrivals were recorded in Malaysia last year, earning the country nearly RM900 million in revenue.

    “Today, we are lagging behind our competitors in using Malaysian cuisine as a tourism attraction,” Abd Aziz told Malaysian journalists.

    “We need to popularise our food and position ourselves accordingly.”

    He said the last 20 years had seen the mushrooming of Indian, Chinese and Thai food outlets in the UK, but not those from Malaysia.

    “Indian food has been the most popular, as shown by the presence of 6,000 Indian restaurants in the UK today. In comparison, there are only about 50 Malaysian outlets.”

    Tourism promotion aside, MalaysiaKitchen and other initiatives aimed at popularising Malaysian dishes will also help Malaysian food producers to make bigger inroads abroad.

    “Three or four years ago, our agricultural produce and agro-based products were only available at Oriental outlets,” Abd Aziz said.

    “But with the opening of Tesco and the like in Malaysia, our products can now be found in mainstream supermarkets (in the UK).”

    The Jom Makan restaurant here is run by JomMalaysia (UK) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Perbadanan Nasional Bhd.

    It is the second outlet under the MalaysiaKitchen brand, the first being Jom Makan Tokyo that opened in November 2007 in the upmarket district of Daikanyama.

    The Japanese outlet, managed by JomMalaysia Japan Co Ltd, is a specialty restaurant as opposed to the quick service restaurant concept adopted here.

    JomMalaysia (UK) Ltd managing director Mohd Zuhri Abdullah said some RM9 million had been invested in the London outlet.

    The 3,900 square feet outlet employs 36 workers, mostly non-Malaysians.

    “Our target is to break even within 18 months,” Mohd Zuhri said.

    “We also plan to open three more outlets, probably here in the British capital, by the end of next year.”

  20. #20 by ladyof.liberty on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 11:35 pm

    suffer …. continue to suffer pocket pains! until 2012…

  21. #21 by veddy.lum74 on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 8:35 am

    i m quoting mahatiu’s remark in regards to the recent global financial crisis:these thieves have been stealing for the past 30 years!
    likewise,in malaysia the bolehland,mr.TDM,umno,the biggest thieve created by you,were,and still stealing from us,the rakyat!and the veru good example are Toyol and Lesbian Azalina,right?

  22. #22 by veddy.lum74 on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 8:40 am

    if lesbian azalina one day become Finance Minister(i bet she will),immediately the next day,malaysia will go bankcrupt!

    i discovered that her character is very similar to KJ!the kera jahat!

  23. #23 by Bobster on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 8:58 am

    BN has learnt nothing from 8 March 2008. Robbing and looting still carry on under broad day light and Bkt Aman commercial crime division choose to close one eye, finding fault and carry out selective persecution only.

    So Ng Yen Yen ‘tou tai’ Ms Chew MF also gets involved. Typical case of you scratch my back I scratch your butt.

    List down all of them. These scandals will never disappear in the internet age. If our PDRM refuse to take any action, very soon the 13th political tsunami will be even more devastating that will sink the Sinking Rotten Ship together will the cronies once and for all!

  24. #24 by Kasim Amat on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 10:14 am

    The report by this audit firm is clearly misleading and unfounded. First of all, being an international audit firm, they must consider that the Ministry of Tourism will be implicated for anything they wrote in the report. I am surprised that such a report was announced to the public before obtaining any formal approval from the authorities. As a professional they must be very careful in handling the matter as any misleading information will lead to lost of confidence by people in the government. The local audit professions should issue warning to Price WaterhouseCoopers for issuing such an unscrupulous and impolite report and should ask them to retract the report in order to obtain proper government’s approval before re-releasing it. Their licence should be put in review if they refuse to retract the report.

    We should be aware that the integrity of our former and current Minister of Tourism should not be questioned. They have contributed a lot to tourism industry of Malaysia. All Malaysian can see the improvement in the tourism industry in the past years and they should be give credit to it. Making losses does not necessary means one company has committed fraud. It could be due to the generous policies which are not profit driven. For example, we ned to set up a lot of information centres in different countries to help promoting Malaysia and give away free brochures and flyers. This does not make any money but it benefited the tourism industry as a whole. Lim Kit Siang should refrain from making any conclusion on this matter before further investigation is carried out by the authorities. An audit report does not cast stone to this matter. I hope all readers view the matter objectively and think of what our government has done in the past and not just blindly believe what the opposition is claiming.

  25. #25 by k1980 on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 10:23 am

    Yeah, Kasim Amat. Blame everyone else except the culprit.
    Altantoya’s death– blame the C4 explosives
    Dollah’s sacking — blame the PR opposition
    High inflation– blame the rakyat for not changing their lifestyle
    umno scandals– blame the DAP

  26. #26 by azar sharif on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 12:29 pm

    Sri Kebaya Malaysia Restaurant

    I am writing as an obligation to explain to readers and Malaysian in general. Our vision and intention are crystal clear. Please, after this explanation I hope Malaysian will understand more about the setting up of Sri Kebaya Malaysia Restaurant in Doha.

    As much as you and the general public would possibly want to know, Sri Kebaya Malaysia Restaurant is not a subsidiary of Pempena Sdn Bhd. We are a private company with a 30% share by Pempena Sdn Bhd that only amount to RM 150,000.00. The restaurant had just been opened in January 2008 and we are still in the midst of managing the business setups and direction of the restaurant. We have not even ending our fiscal year. Therefore claiming that the business is a loss venture is obviously untrue. Pricewaterhouse report is also deemed to be incomplete and one sided as we were not even contacted to explain about the business set up.

    Pempena Sdn Bhd involvement is also crystal clear, to make the restaurant as a tourism information hub in Doha. Qatar as there has been a rising numbers of tourists from Qatar to Malaysia every year. Currently we don’t have any tourism information centre in Doha. Inevitably to setup information hub will incur more than the share Pempena had invested.

    We took the ‘Malaysia Kitchen’ program seriously as a Proud Malaysian. We put ourselves into a lot more business risk and setup a restaurant in a foreign land none other than because of business potential and at the same time supporting tourism industry back home. We are promoting Malaysia through food and hospitality not only to the local Qatari but also to the expatriates. Even without brochures or any information from Motour, we had taken effort to buy coffee table books at our own expense for our customer to read and understand more about Malaysia. Therefore, profit should also be looked upon in a perspective of ‘profit in kind’ whereby local Malaysian will benefit from tourists who visit Malaysia based on our effort!

    We are proud to be the first and the one and only Malaysian Restaurant in Qatar.

    Being the only Malaysian Restaurant in Doha, Sri Kebaya has also become a centre where Malaysians working in Qatar meet.

    We have realized the importance of Sri Kebaya Malaysia Restaurant to be in Doha, Qatar.

    As a result to this turmoil and misunderstanding, we have discussed with Pempena to buy back the share. We do not want to be a victim to politic and please do not politicize the issue as that will bring a bad publicity to Sri Kebaya. We have built Sri Kebaya painstakingly and the reputation has been very good with the local Qatari, expatriates, tourists and Malaysians working there. Please do not tarnish our reputation with baseless accusation.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to straighten some claims and rumors verbally made and got to our knowledge. Claims that Sri Kebaya is a government subsidized restaurant is not true. Sri Kebaya is a MITI initiated restaurant is not true. Sri Kebaya set up was an awarded grant is not true. Sri Kebaya is Pempena own is not true. Sri Kebaya is Pak Lah crony restaurant is not true. We open Sri Kebaya from our live saving money and bank loan that need to be served. So please set the record straight.

    I chose to clarify here not on political reason. It is merely our reputation alone and our voice as a proud Malaysian living oversea could be heard by Malaysians.

    I hope this reply will make Malaysian understand more about Sri Kebaya and Mr Lim, with all respect, please do not make blind accusation based on PWHC report alone. I am sure we Malaysians are smarter than that.

    azar sharif
    managing director
    Sri Kebaya Malaysian Restaurant
    Doha Qatar

  27. #27 by m.hwang on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 6:24 pm

    Dear Azar Sharif,

    As long as you have nothing to hide, as long as you are not using the Rakyat’s money then we will wish you all the best in your noble venture. Only you will know the answer to that.

  28. #28 by taiking on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 9:29 am

    Author of open letter above:

    “I hope this reply will make Malaysian understand more about Sri Kebaya and Mr Lim, with all respect, please do not make blind accusation based on PWHC report alone. I am sure we Malaysians are smarter than that.”

    LKS did not make blind accusation. Like all of us he was blinded by the umno government.

    So pempena is a stakeholder in your venture huh.

  29. #29 by k1980 on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 9:38 am

    “The company has lost RM20 million and there is a lot of hanky panky and monkey business here. The minister owes everyone an explanation. There is basis for the police to investigate these losses.”

    He said he also learnt that the ministry wanted another RM5 million to keep Pempena afloat.

  30. #30 by Godfather on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 10:04 am

    Yeah, the report by PWC was definitely done by a white man with an axe to grind against Bolehland. It was not professionally done.

    For a professionally done report, we should hire Kasim Amat, Godfather and Chandran, the best accounting firm in Bolehland. This firm asks all the right questions, like (a) what you do want the answer to be (b) how much you want (c) who do you want to pin the blame on.

    The firm of Kasim Amat, Godfather and Chandran has an impressive list of deals completed in Bolehland. We can send you our list of referees which include Mike Tyson and Najis.

    Lastly, we can tell you we have professional indemnity insurance from the AG’s Chambers, so don’t worry about us being sued.

  31. #31 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 10:06 am

    “…Sri Kebaya Malaysia Restaurant is not a subsidiary of Pempena Sdn Bhd. We are a private company with a 30% share by Pempena Sdn Bhd that only amount to RM 150,000.00.”

    So that makes Pempena a minority shareholder of your company. Who are the other shareholders and what is the issued and paid up capital of your company?

  32. #32 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 10:08 am

    Who sit on the Board of Directors??

  33. #33 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 10:09 am

    Who are your bankers?

  34. #34 by Godfather on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 12:14 pm

    Did you receive or apply for any grant under the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 programme controlled by MITI and the Ministry of Tourism ?

  35. #35 by Godfather on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 12:18 pm

    If your total paid up capital is RM500,000 where do the rest of the funds come from ? I would assume that RM 500,000 is not enough to open a restaurant in Doha.

    Also, if you aim to be a Tourist information Centre for Malaysia, do you receive a fee from the Government for this role ?

  36. #36 by azar sharif on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 12:34 pm

    Azar Sharif
    Sri Kebaya,
    Doha, Qatar.
    [email protected]

    Ok. Like wise said, in actual fact, a set up of a sdn bhd company can easily be obtained from SSM. But to cut it short, since undergrad2 likes to know, the majority share holders are Azar Sharif (35%) and Sunyta Ali (35%), Pempena (30%). Our paid up is RM 500k.

    We applied loan from EXIM Bank who apparently in charge of loan Under Malaysia Kitchen program. And the loan is still in progress. In the meantime we did borrow soft loans from friends and relatives.

    About the board, only me and Sunyta sit on the Board.

    There has been no issue on our set up of the company and the restaurant.

    Pempena’s involvement is to help us promoting the restaurant and at the same time promoting tourism back home. It should not be a subject of ridicule because we are working hand in hand in promoting Malaysia in Qatar.

    We will try our utmost energy and time to explain to those who wanted to know the facts. But not to those who want to misconstrue the facts.

    My explanation is not to belittle anybody. Not even PWC report. A report is just a finding. My argument is, how can Sri Kebaya venture was regarded as a loss whilst we have not even close our account for a financial calendar year?

    I would like to stress, as an entrepreneur, we cannot be realizing the government effort alone. I must say, Pempena has given us all the support and did a good job in promoting Malaysia oversea. The result is, we get tourist coming to Malaysia in two folds.

    Malaysian should be able to see beyond the predicament of issues and stories.

    p.s. By all means, be a brave Malaysian by using your real name, not nicks. And be a proud Malaysian……because we have Malaysia Restaurant all over the World!

    Thank You.

  37. #37 by azar sharif on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 12:49 pm

    reply to Godfather

    azar sharif
    sri kebaya
    doha, qatar

    No. we did not apply for any of the grant (maybe because lack of knowledge and information about such allocation) from MITI or from tourism.

    And no, we have not charged any fees for being Malaysia promotion hub in Qatar.

    You are right, RM500,000.00 was not enough to open a restaurant in Doha. I mentioned, we did get soft loan from friends and relatives. We had full support from the Emir of Qatar in providing us the premise with a good rental.

    We have good support from Malaysia companies in Qatar like Petronas, UEM, Muhibbah (just to name a few) and others. We have an endless support from Malaysia Embassy and former first secretary. We are also supported by Malaysia Association of Qatar, Tourism Council in Dubai and Malaysian staying and working in Qatar by supporting the business.

    Thank you for your concern. For your information, we are in the midst of updating our webstie that will be up next monday. |Visit us at

  38. #38 by Richardqed on Thursday, 20 November 2008 - 9:10 pm

    “The local audit professions should issue warning to Price WaterhouseCoopers for issuing such an unscrupulous and impolite report and should ask them to retract the report in order to obtain proper government’s approval before re-releasing it. Their licence should be put in review if they refuse to retract the report.” — Kasim Amat.

    Kasim Amat, you are forever the biggest idiot around.

    unscrupulous – a word for describing Umno, not PWC.
    impolite – yet another word about Umno, not PWC.
    asking people to retract their truthful reports and declarations — Umno’s style
    “Their licence should be put in review if they refuse to retract the report.” — Umno’s style (revoke, review licenses, passports etc, but dare not admit it).

    If Govt dares threaten or take childish action against PWC, Malaysia will be internationally condemned and will go down the drain.

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