Youth Day cost overrun blamed on K-Pop group payment

Minister Khairy Jamaluddin

The cost overrun of a National Youth Day celebration function organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry has been blamed on the payment made to a K-Pop group, said minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said initially, the ministry had expected sponsorship from private parties to cover all activities during the celebration last year.

"However, there was a shortfall of sponsorship, which resulted in the ministry forking out its own funds to cover expenses," he said in his winding-up speech on Budget 2014 to questions related to his ministry.

Khairy said his ministry had allocated a total of RM27.5mil (S$10.7 million) to cover the event's activities and programmes.

To a question from Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) on why the ministry had decided to bring the K-Pop group to perform when it is against the Islamic principles, Khairy said that the group was successful in attracting non-Muslim youth to attend the celebration.

On a separate matter, Khairy said that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to announce the National Football Development Plan in January 2014.

The plan is a collaboration between the Education Ministry and Football Association of Malaysia to identify youth aged between seven and 17, to be picked as new talents for the national football team.

During the debate on the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry, its minister Datuk Hasan Malek said a new databank will be created to monitor the cost of items before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented.

It is to ensure that businesses will not take advantage of the GST to raise their prices.

"The database mechanism will be used as a reference point for the Government to check whether the prices of items had been manipulated," he added.

Hasan said the ministry has also set up a central committee together with the Customs Department in anticipation of the GST.

"It will function as a body to look at aspects of the laws, enforcement as well as data collection," he said in his winding-up speech.

Hasan also gave the assurance that the Government will continue to take action against errant businesses and monitor the prices of items nationwide after GST comes into force.