GEORGE TOWN : A new political party, The Penang Front Party (PFP) has lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the controversial European Business Awards (EBA) allegedly purchased by two Penang state councils.
Its president, Datuk Patrick Ooi, said PFP wants MACC to investigate if the awards were bought using taxpayers’ money, especially Penangites’ money.
“We also think the MACC should investigate the reason there was a need to pay to attend the awards ceremony held in Montreux at the Swiss Leaders Summit,” said Ooi.
It also wants MACC to investigate whether the Penang Island Municipal Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) had paid money to the EBA, an organisation which is said to have dubious credibility, to receive the awards.
Ooi has called out to Penang Chief Minister to respond to the issue as he claimed the latter had been proudly announcing the awards won by the two local councils in the beginning when the agency under the state government had won the “Best Municipal Manager” award while MBPP had won the “Best Municipality Award” in 2013 at a ceremony in Montrieux, Switzerland.
“So why is he keeping quiet now?” asked Ooi.
He claimed that the latest on EBA is that the body was said to have made millions in cash by selling fake Oxford University honours awards.
“The dubious EBA awards was being exposed by two European NGOs but why are they still denying it here?
“Could it be for the mere reason Penang is so hard up for awards to make itself look good?” he told a press conference after lodging the report with the MACC here today.
Last week, The Times in UK reported that the EBA is not affiliated to the University of Oxford as advertised but is an organisation set up by Ukrainian businessmen to sell millions of pounds worth of fake awards and honours.
It claimed the awards EBA have been giving out were sold for a price and that the organisation had specifically targeted third world countries.
Meanwhile exco for Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Chow Kon Yeow did not confirm nor deny that the local councils had paid for the EBA awards and only advised the local councils to be “more discerning” and careful when nominated for international awards.
The EBA awards issue was brought up by BN’s Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhammad Farid Saad who claimed two local governments in Penang which are the Penang Island Municipal Council (MBPP) and the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) have received awards for “The Best City” and “Best Mayor” awards from the EBA in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Muhammad Farid’s statements regarding the awards came about following reports by local Chinese press which claimed that the EBA was not a credible organisation, which had the sole aim of selling awards to just about anyone to make profits.