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Land scam: Johor MB’s explanation grossly inadequate

March 3, 2017

Khaled Nordin must explain the issue to the Johor State Assembly on March 9 and be honest about whether there are more instances of abuse.

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By Liew Chin Tong

After a long silence on the exposé of the Johor land scam, Menteri Besar Khaled Nordin finally attempted to offer an explanation about the issue although it sounded more like an excuse than anything else.

According to Khaled, since 2013, developers had been allowed to apply for the conversion of Bumiputera housing lots by making a 7.5% contribution – or half of the 15% Bumiputera lot discount – to the state, with projects prior to 2013, eligible for lower payments.

The contributions or collections acquired through payments to convert the lots and release the Bumiputera status were then channeled to a Bumiputera Housing Fund.

Khaled said the fund, which had amassed RM600 million since 2013, was then used by the state for pro-Bumiputera projects such as acquiring land for affordable housing, and building Bumiputera shop lots.

Khaled’s explanation is however grossly inadequate. He has failed to explain the real issues.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested seven suspects and froze RM15.5 million in 45 bank accounts, as well as seized 21 luxury cars, five high-powered motorcycles and RM500,000 in local and foreign currencies.

According to the MACC, the suspects had converted the statuses of Bumiputera quota units into non-Bumiputera quota units in order to sell them at a higher price.

The public expects the Johor state government to commit to a thorough investigation, and to account for the land scandal in an open manner, which includes having an independent audit of the conversion of Bumiputera units since 2013.

There are so many questions to be answered. Were those investigated by the MACC just the tip of the iceberg? The State Government has collected RM600 million from the scheme, which is a substantial amount; could there be more abuses?

I call on Khaled to commit to explaining the issue to the State Assembly of Johor on March 9, either through a White Paper or to allow a debate of the Emergency Motion by DAP State Assemblyman for Pekan Nenas Yeo Tun Siong, endorsed by Johor Opposition Leader Gan Peck Cheng, on the subject.

The people of Johor deserve a sincere and truthful explanation.

Liew Chin Tong is DAP Johor Chairman and MP for Kluang.

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