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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ong ‘pleasantly surprised’ with NAAM’s explanation

DAP lawmaker Ong Kian Ming urges foundation to put as much information as possible on their website so public can understand what they are doing.
kian-ming-saraKUALA LUMPUR: Ong Kian Ming of the DAP says he is satisfied and “pleasantly surprised” by M Saravanan’s explanation about the government funds allocated to the New Affirmative Action Movement (NAAM) foundation.
The Serdang lawmaker told reporters, following a 90-minute meeting with the Youth and Sports deputy minister, that while not all reports could be released publicly, he was nevertheless very satisfied with what he did see.
“I saw a lot of documents I did not expect to see before I came today. I do urge them to put as much on their website as possible so the public can understand them thoroughly.”
Ong’s visit to the NAAM foundation came about after he called upon Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, to explain why the ministry’s funds were allocated to an “MIC-controlled NGO.”
Ong also wanted assurances that there had not been any abuse of government funds by the foundation, citing a possible conflict of interest, following a payout of RM19 million to NAAM.
In answer to Ong’s demands, Saravanan challenged Ong to bring along an accountant to view NAAM’s documents.
Meanwhile, during the meeting, Saravanan denied that the foundation was linked to the Indian-based party, explaining that it “just so happened” that most of NAAM’s members were from MIC.
“They were appointed on the basis that they are professionals, like accountants and lawyers and not because they are politicians,” he said, adding there were also PKR and PAS volunteers who were NAAM coordinators.
Saravanan, who is MP for Tapah, stressed that since external auditors had vetted NAAM’s accounts, he was puzzled as to why people were questioning the funds given to the foundation.
He also claimed NAAM submitted reports of its accounts even before it was asked to do so.
“We are the only Indian NGO who signed the integrity pact even before taking money to show we have nothing to hide.”
Saravanan however did praise Ong for making the effort to find out what was actually taking place behind the scenes.
“A lot of people don’t. They just open their mouths.”
When asked if the government would be allocating funds to NAAM in 2016, Saravanan said the foundation would receive monies if the government was “happy with them.”

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