PETALING JAYA: The sale of the Sungai Buloh land, previously owned by the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB), was under the instruction of the government, says a former minister.
Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who was the plantation industries and commodities minister from 2008 to 2013, said the price of RM1.5bil was agreed by the MRB.
“Whatever land that belongs to the government belongs to the country and the government of the day instructed that it should be sold to ATNB (Aset Tanah Negara Berhad).
“Initially, I think there were some communications that the Finance Ministry wanted it to be transferred to a company for a nominal sum,” he said.
Dompok said MRB then decided to go for a valuation exercise, which was probably conducted by the Valuation and Property Services Department, after which the price was agreed upon.
He also claimed MRB had abided by the government’s decision for the land to be transferred to ATNB and it was surrendered based on “nominal terms”.
“There was no irregularity. It was quite simple actually.
“But what happened after that would be beyond the scope of MRB,” said Dompok.
In 2010, MRB sold a 2,800 acre plot of land in Sungai Buloh to ATNB, a special purpose vehicle of the Finance Ministry for RM1.5bil.
The following year, ATNB sold 2,330 acre of the land to Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for RM2.28bil.
In Putrajaya, the National Audit Department and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) confirmed that investigations were underway, following complaints lodged by the MRB’s current office bearers.
Auditor-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad said they had carried out an audit on the land, belonging to MRB that was sold to ATNB.
“We are now in the midst of completing the audit report,” she said.
However, Dr Madinah refused to divulge information when asked if the preliminary audit found any discrepancy.
“Once the report is completed, we will share the findings with the board in order to get their feedback on the issues raised,” she said.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki said investigations had started on the alleged loss of RM70mil because the previous board had disregarded the standard operating procedure when approving a project to develop five facilities in Sungai Buloh.
“We have just begun the probe. Let us look into the case first,” he said.
On Thursday, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the government had unearthed dealings, including by the previous administration, that had caused the MRB to suffer huge losses.
However, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the RM2.28bil price tag for the land sold to Kwasa Land came to about RM18.90 per sq ft, a price which analysts then felt was “reasonable” and according to market value.
Najib also pointed out that both MRB and ATNB were government entities and that selling the land to Kwasa Land for the development of a new township allowed EPF to make billions of ringgit in profits for its contributors.
MRB’s current chairman Sankara N. Nair said reports had been lodged with the authorities, urging them to investigate the matter.
EPF, when approached for more details about the deal, said it was inappropriate for it to comment publicly at this point as the matter was under investigation by the Auditor-General.
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