MACC sets up special panel to probe Gatco issue

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JEMPOL: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is setting up a special committee to investigate complaints by residents of Kampung Serampang Indah over the Gatco plantation land crisis.

MACC chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad said the committee would study the documents enclosed in the report lodged by the Gatco Settlers Action Committee at the commission’s office in Putrajaya last Wednesday.

“It happened 40 years ago and we will need some time to study the documents and police report. If there is a basis (for investigation), MACC will take follow-up action to protect the rights of the Gatco settlers,” he said when met after a meeting with residents of Kampung Serampang Indah here today.

Also present was Kampung Serampang Indah MIC chairman R. Ravi.

Dzulkifli said although the Gatco issue had been brought to court following a civil suit filed by the residents, it would not prevent MACC from conducting its investigation if there were elements of corruption, power abuse or misappropriation involved.

Earlier, Ravi submitted more than 150 documents pertaining to the Gatco land sale to Dzulkifli.

The land in the area was previously a sugarcane plantation owned by Syarikat Gula Negeri Sembilan and following the closure of the company, 2,000 hectares of the land was given to the Negeri Sembilan Development Corporation (PKNNS) on a 99-year-lease.

In 1977, PKNNS leased the land to The Great Allonioners Trading Corporation Bhd (Gatco) for 66 years.

Gatco turned the area into a land scheme and brought in settlers who were offered between RM4,000 and RM7,000 for a housing site and a four-hectare plantation.

Initially, Gatco planned to develop the area into a rubber plantation, but due to financial constraints, the land, which was mortgaged to the bank, was taken over by Danaharta, and at a public auction in 2007, it was bought by Thamarai Holdings.