KUALA LUMPUR – The 84-year-old Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) is in crisis as it struggles to pay its staff and a RM6 million debt pile, according to a report in The Star today.

The daily cited an AAM official saying the country’s premier motoring authority has scheduled a special general meeting on October 3 to discuss the sale of its headquarters in Shah Alam, Selangor as part of a salvage plan.

The building price has reportedly been set at RM7.5 million.

“We heard that a 10 per cent booking fee has already been paid for the building,” the unnamed official was quoted saying.

According to the report, AAM’s financial troubles started in 2008 when it started bleeding money. Its biggest deficit recorded was RM2.15 million in 2013.

The anonymous official told the daily that AAM has not been able to provide its services, notably its breakdown service, as many unpaid employees have deserted their posts, leaving only some 100 staff who turn up in hopes of eventually seeing their salaries.

The report did not say how much AAM owed the workers in backpay, nor how many had stopped working.

The AAM’s services include the issuance of motor insurance cover notes and handles road tax and driving licence renewals, which have also been hobbled; according to the official, it now only redirects requests for assistance.

As such, AAM has been besieged by refund demands from its members who pay an annual fee of RM60 as principals and RM30 as supplementary members.

The association was founded in 1932 and is said to have a total fleet and individual membership of 300,000, according to The Star.

Affected AAM staff demonstrated outside the Shah Alam head office last August 17, claiming to be unpaid since April.

On the same day, AAM’s management issued a statement announcing plans to downsize operations that is funded entirely from its membership fees, due to the economic slowdown.

It added that it planned to close down or relocated unprofitable branches and sell off assets and properties and build new business modules and business partnerships by year end.

– Malay Mail