Sime Darby Plantation against land acquisition

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 01 May 2019

PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd has claimed that the Melaka state authorities and a Taiwanese-controlled company are trying to wrongfully acquire its 185.5 acres of land in Merlimau at below market valuations.

In opposition to the compulsory acquisition move, the giant plantation player has commenced a judicial review against the Melaka Land and Mines Department, Jasin Land Office, the State Government and also GI A Resources Sdn Bhd.

The legal action was announced in a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, following a report by a local daily that Sime Darby Plantation has been forced to sell the 185.5-acre land below the market price of RM35.28mil to a foreign-owned company, which claimed to represent the country’s previous Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

When contacted by StarBiz, a source close to Sime Darby Plantation pointed out that the Merlimau land was part of the the 4,377 acres of freehold estate land in Peninsular Malaysia which the company is currently looking to dispose of.

Sime Darby Plantation plans to sell the Merlimau land for about RM200,000 to RM250,000 per acre. This amounts to a valuation of about RM37.1mil to RM46.38mil.

However, the price said to be offered by GI A Resources for the 185.5 acres was only RM35.28mil.

“For the Merlimau land case, Sime Darby Plantation has hired top law firm Hishamuddin Lee Allen & Gledhill to handle the case,” he said.

In late March, Sime Darby Plantation had placed an advertisement for the sale of several parcels of its oil palm land scattered in Kuala Langat and Klang (Selangor), Sitiawan and Hilir Perak (Perak), Merlimau (Melaka), Kuala Muda and Kulim (Kedah) and Seberang Prai Selatan (Penang).

The total proposed sale is estimated to bring in proceeds of over RM1bil if Sime Darby Plantation is able to get the price it seeks.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Sime Darby Plantation said it has been advised by its solicitors that “it has strong grounds for this action to protect its assets”.

“The company is seeking, among others, the orders of certiorari and mandamus to nullify the compulsory acquisition, and declaratory relief that the Land Acquisition Act 1960 cannot be abused to compulsorily acquire land belonging to the company for the benefit of a foreign owned company, GI A Resources Sdn Bhd,” the company said.

Based on StarBiz’s checks with the Companies Commission of Malaysia database, GI A Resources is 70%-controlled by Xinzhongwei Capital Holdings Sdn Bhd, which in turn is owned by foreigners Chuang Chou-Wen (60%) and Aixinjueluo Yuhao (38%) and Malaysian Lum Mun Fook (2%).

The remaining 30% in GI A Resources is owned by an individual named Mohd Ammar Redha Mohd Yusoff.

GI A Resources is principally involved in the business of property investment. According to its latest publicly-available financial results for the financial year of 2017, the company made a loss of RM492,146 and had no assets against total liabilities of RM6,589.

On April 30, quoting Sime Darby Plantation’s judicial review application, a local newspaper reported that GI A Resources had compelled the plantation player to sell the land at the below market price of RM35.28mil.

Referring to an affidavit by Sime Darby Plantation head of land management unit, Mohd Razlan Mohd Rahim, the news report also stated that GI A Resources had only told the plantation group that the 185.5 acres of land would be used for the proposed development of the Bandar Pendidikan Bestari project.

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