No action on Angkasawan

By Dharmender Singh, The Star

No action will be taken against Angkasawan Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha over allegations that he received money from giving a series of talks last year.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said although the ministry found he had contravened a few clauses in his contract, action could not be taken as there were certain “grey areas” in the contract.

When explaining a show-cause letter from the ministry, he said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said his work at the ministry was not affected as he gave the talks after office hours and when he was overseas.

“He has provided an explanation to the queries in the letter including why he charged for the talks and we feel that it is acceptable. So there is no reason to take the matter any further,” he told reporters after launching the ministry’s logo yesterday.

Dr Ongkili said investigations also revealed that although Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was paid for the talks, the amount in no way amounted to over RM1mil. It was alleged that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar had pocketed over RM1.2mil.

Dr Maximus said a new contract would be ready by next month which would address the weaknesses in the existing contract. He also said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar had expressed his wish to continue working with the ministry.

Later, when met at the KL International Airport before his departure to Egypt for a humanitarian mission, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said he would decide on whether to sign the new contract with the ministry after reading it on his return.

On Dr Maximus’ statement that he had breached the earlier contact, he said, it was due to a miscommunication.