PETALING JAYA: One of Mohamad Sabu’s (pic) first tasks as Defence Minister is to investigate the alleged military land privatisation deal to a company owned by three individuals.
The matter would be probed to determine whether elements of corruption were involved, he told reporters after a press conference by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to announce the three new Cabinet ministers: Finance, Home and Defence.
Former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz had claimed last month that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was defence minister in 2008, had recommended the privatisation of over 40,000ha of ministry or Armed Forces land to a company owned by three individuals, which was approved and implemented.
She claimed the proposal, presented to the Government in late 2007, was approved and executed.
The Defence Ministry later clarified that the appointment of the company to carry out development projects, involving the land swap privatisation, was in accordance with the procedures established under the Public Private Partnership Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.
On his new post, Mohamad, who is also Parti Amanah Negara president, said he would seek the advice of ministry officials on his scope of responsibility, which he described as “a very huge one”.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who was given the Finance Minister portfolio, said the Government’s focus now was to help people struggling to make ends meet and to ease their financial difficulty.
The measures, he said, included abolishing the Goods and Services Tax and maintaining the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M).
The Government would also review all contracts that did not benefit the people, he added.
“This is to ensure that the rights of Malaysians, as well as jobs and business opportunities are protected,” Lim said.
On being the first Chinese to hold the important portfolio again since 1974, Lim replied: “I don’t consider myself a Chinese. I am a Malaysian.”
DAP deputy chairman Gobind Singh Deo hailed Lim’s appointment, saying he had the capability for the job.
“He was Penang chief minister for 10 years and he ran the state government efficiently,” he added.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was made Home Minister, declined to comment on his appointment.