PETALING JAYA: A company owned by billionaire Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary (pic) has admitted to being the private party in a land swap deal with the Defence Ministry (Mindef), reports The Edge.
The portal reported that Kelana Ventures Sdn Bhd (KVSB) said that the swap involved Royal Malaysian Air Force land in Puchong.
KVSB said the land had been valued by the company at RM500mil without taking into account the future conversion premium that needs to be paid and other restrictions and conditions that may be imposed by the Selangor state government for future development.
In a letter to The Edge, KVSB said in return for the land, the company had an arrangement with Mindef to build three new facilities costing a total of RM499.9mil.
The new facilities are a new army camp at Kem Paloh in Kluang, Johor, for RM280.7mil; a new logistics management training centre in Sendayan, Negri Sembilan, for RM137.3mil; and a new air force base at Kementah, Kuala Lumpur, for RM81.9mil.
KVSB also said the land swap deal and agreement between them and Mindef to build the facilities have yet to be signed, but construction works had already started at Kem Paloh at Mindef's request.
The Edge had reported that KVSB was involved in a land swap deal with Mindef, which the ministry lost RM258mil by selling the Kinrara plot in Puchong at a 34% discount to the company.
On Wednesday (Feb 20), Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu claimed that several of his predecessors swapped land and built army bases in four areas despite opposition from the armed forces because "politicians needed to secure their positions".
He said the armed forces had opposed the building of four army bases in Hutan Melintang in Perak, Segamat and Paloh in Johor, and Bera in Pahang but Mindef went ahead with it.
Mohamad said according to a report from the Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigating Committee led by former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, Mindef lost more than RM500mil from several land swap deals involving plots worth RM4.75bil.
The minister said the committee investigated 16 deals involving 1,138ha of land belonging to the ministry, with the cost of projects estimated at RM4.88bil.