PETALING JAYA – Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa has been asked to go on “temporary leave” to facilitate internal investigations over Mara’s sponsorships of the Kelantan Football Association (Kafa).
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he was informed that the Mara Council held a special meeting yesterday to pave the way for an internal audit into the sponsorship as well as other issues that have been going viral on social media.
Ismail was clarifying an earlier announcement that Annuar had been suspended.
“He was advised to go on temporary leave pending the investigations,” Ismail said in a statement issued here yesterday.
He said the Mara legal advisors informed him that the council had full authority to act as it did not involve the question of Annuar’s appointment or sacking, which requires the minister’s consent and the Prime Minister’s approval.
“This investigation is to regain the confidence of the public and Annuar was not invited as the meeting was about him.
“In fact, he was not even called in to give an explanation as the council believes it is only right for him to present his explanation to the audit committee,” he added.
Earlier yesterday, Mara Council member Datuk Dr Yusof Yakob, who chaired the council meeting, announced that Annuar had been asked to go on leave and was suspended.
He said this was to allow the internal audit committee to investigate sponsorships by Pelaburan Mara Bhd and UniKL (Universiti Kuala Lumpur) to the state football association through The Red Warriors Sdn Bhd (TRW).
“Those connected will be called up to give an explanation. The audit meeting will be held next week on Feb 7,” he told a press conference after chairing the special meeting at Bangunan Mara.
Dr Yusof said Annuar’s temporary removal will remain in effect pending findings of the probe.
“The findings of the investigations will be tabled to the council and deliberated.
“As long as Tan Sri Annuar is suspended, he will not have access to information or interest in Mara or its subsidiaries,” he said.
Dr Yusof said the council was not “saying who is wrong or right” pending investigations.
“This is the clarification to the rakyat that we will not compromise with whatever accusations such as what happened with the Mara Inc case in Melbourne,” he added.
Asked how Mara was going to regain its credibility, particularly among the Malays, Dr Yusof said this was why the council decided to act swiftly in this matter.
“We are council members entrusted by the people.
“We cannot keep silent and must take the side of the rakyat to take action to resolve the issue,” he said.
Asked if a report would be made to Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), he said that this had not been considered at the moment. “We will wait and see if there is a need to do so,” he added.
However, Dr Yusof stressed the internal audit was focused on Mara’s internal workings and not the abuse of power.
Annuar, who is in New Zealand, said he accepted the action and said it was the prerogative of the Mara Council to have him suspended.