Sports Minister Demands Accountability After Rugby Association Finds RM1 Mil Funds Missing

A member of staff had allegedly been making cash withdrawals, totalling up to RM1 million, since 2019.

Cover image via Owee Ah Chun/New Straits Times & Bernama

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Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh is demanding for accountability from national sports associations regarding funding, especially after Malaysia Rugby recently discovered a large sum of money missing from its bank account

However, according to New Straits Times, the newly-appointed Minister said she will not comment specifically on the incident until she has received a detailed report.

"I don't want to comment about [Malaysia Rugby]. I want to take a look at the report and the details first," she said yesterday, 6 December.

"But since I became a 'wakil rakyat' (people's representative), I have always believed there has to be accountability when it comes to the allocations given to us."

Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.

Image via Owee Ah Chun/New Straits Times

The national rugby body was reportedly shocked to discover that an administration staff member had been allegedly siphoning money out of the association's bank account

Sources told New Straits Times that the staff had allegedly made repeated cash withdrawals, totalling up to RM1 million, since 2019.

It is said the administration executive, who was in charge of the association's accounts, had forged the president and treasurer's signatures in making the cash withdrawals.

The sources also claimed that the staff had maintained a low profile and did not spend lavishly.

Malaysia Rugby president Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya said the association is wholly disappointed with the staff member's dishonest activities

"The staff in question was very smart in covering any tracks and made sure (legitimate) payments were settled on time," he said on Monday, 5 December.

"It was only recently when the staff went on leave and someone else took over that the discrepancies were noticed."

"We do have checks and balances in place but these were manipulated."

He added that they are currently working with the bank to determine the losses as some withdrawals were legitimate.

"To say I am disappointed would be an understatement because we had worked so hard over the past few years to raise funds and sponsorship for Malaysia Rugby to run its activities," he said.

"The money taken from us was a mix of funds from sponsorship as well as from the National Sports Council."

The national body has lodged a police report regarding the matter.

Malaysia Rugby president Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya.

Image via Bernama/New Straits Times

Due to the incident, Yeoh added that allocations for national sports associations may be made publicly known in the future

"For example, the allocations channelled to me as a member of parliament (MP) have been displayed online, where you can see which association has received them," said the Segambut MP.

"This is so that everyone knows where the budget went and what it has been spent on."

"I will be briefed, and if there is a need, we may make such information available (in sports) so that there is transparency."

The Ministry of Finance also recently discovered there were major breaches of protocol involving government funds worth RM600 billion under the last administration:

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