No benefit in keeping Pempena afloat In September last year, four directors of Pembangunan Perlancongan Nasional Sdn Bhd (Pempena) Datuk Yip Kum Fook (MCA GOMBAK, who is BAD name in Buddhist and he always went to China to find girls) Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai, Syed Abdul Rahman and Jaigani Jaafar – were served with letters of demand for payment of more than RM12.4 million owed by the company.The letters from lawyer Joginder Singh, who was acting for Kah Bintang Auto Sdn Bhd were sent by registered post. On receiving the letter, one of them, Lim, the former deputy toursim minister and current deputy finance minister, contacted the CEO of Pempena and asked him to act on the demand.For a good eight months, nothing happened. No effort was made to contact the motor company or negotiate a settlement. Failing to get a response, Kah Bintang published notice of an intended winding up petition in two national newspapers on May 28. The petition was set to be heard on June 13.At the hearing, the petition was undefended as neither Pempena nor its lawyers made an appearance. The court allowed the petition and asked that Pempena be given another 14 days to pay up. On June 27, that short lease of life for the company expired and Pempena ceased to exist.Yesterday, akin to closing the stable door after the horses have bolted, Malaysian Tourism Board chairman Datuk Victor Wee announced that Pempena would be applying for a stay of the winding up order this week.The decision, he said, was made after a meeting with the management of Pempena last Friday. A new solicitor will be appointed to apply for a stay and work out an amicable settlement.He was responding to theSun’s front page report which said the High Court had ordered the company to be wound up after failing to pay RM12.4 million for the purchase of 120 units of Hyundai Sonata.When asked if these actions and the subsequent embarrassment to the government could have been avoided if Pempena had complied or responded to letters from Kah Bintang and its lawyer, Wee declined to comment, saying: “This is something that only Pempena can answer.”So, the questions are: “Why did the Pempena CEO ignore the letters, and the call from Lim who was then a director of the company? Was it incompetency or sheer arrogance or total defiance of a lawful directive? Why did Pempena not act after the notice was published?More importantly, where is Pempena going to find RM13 million (including interests and costs) to pay the motor company? Why should it come from the tourism promotion budget when all fingers point to the directors, who by virtue of their positions should be held responsible for this fiasco?There’s no benefit in keeping Pempena afloat as it has not contributed in anyway to enhance tourism and related products. In short, it has been bleeding financially and has become a burden to Tourism Malaysia.The best option is to dispose the assets, settle the debts and close shop so that it does not lose more money. Throwing good money after bad does not make good business sense.-thesundaily.
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