Outstanding travel bills will be paid

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (picture) said he will pay any outstanding amount owed to a travel agency after a news report revealed that the company filed a legal suit against him last week.

The Sarawak Report on Tuesday reported that Ampang-based tour operator YHA Travel & Tours (M) Sdn Bhd had filed a suit at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court against the minister over RM328,901 in allegedly unpaid bills which included flight costs and hotel charges.

“I’ve not seen the summon writ, but I’ve asked my officers to examine the claims made by the travel agency. If there are outstanding payments that need to be made, I will pay them, it is my responsibility. So, let them look at the claims properly and then I will pay,” Azmin told reporters at the Malaysia Sustainable Development Goals Summit 2019 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“You have to ask them (why they are taking me to court),” he added. Citing the writ of summons, the report said Azmin had spent RM300,000 between last September and June this year on several premium flights including one to Morocco. With the addition of interest, the travel company said Azmin now owes RM328,901 from the minister’s leisure trips.

Meanwhile, Azmin said he is not privy to a takeover offer by the Finance Ministry (MoF) on PLUS Malaysia Bhd, the country’s largest highway operator.

The Malaysian Reserve recently reported that the ministry was eyeing Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s 51% stake in PLUS as Putrajaya sought to retain the asset within the public sector.

It is believed that the price offered by MoF for the entire shareholding in PLUS would eclipse previous offers made by various parties.

The move seems to be in line with the government’s decision to allow MoF to acquire four highways — Shah Alam Expressway, Damansara-Puchong Expressway, SPRINT Expressway and SMART Tunnel — in a deal valued at RM6.2 billion.

“We have received many proposals, but nothing has been finalised yet. Khazanah is studying all the proposals and that will be tabled to the Cabinet by the Works Ministry.

“We will consider all options whether it is from the government or the private sector. The federal administration will have to weigh the implications if we were to take over these tolls. What is important is for us to fulfil our promise to road users to reduce highway costs,” Azmin said.