KUALA LUMPUR: The government has rejected claims by Rafidah Aziz over tens of thousands of hectares of army land she said had been transferred to a private company without going through open tender, with Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein describing her Facebook post yesterday as “a blatant lie”.
Hishammuddin said Rafidah’s “open letter” addressed to Prime Minister Najib Razak was “full of misinformation”. He said at least three claims by her were “outright lies”.
“I believe she is being very irresponsible for a member of the cabinet at that time who was part of the decisions made to make false allegations and lies on these three issues… she is irresponsible,” he told reporters today.
Hishammuddin rejected Rafidah’s allegation that a company run by three persons owns every inch of his ministry’s assets in Malaysia.
“That is strictly not true and that is a blatant lie,” he said.
Rafidah in her post said that in late 2008, then defence minister Najib had presented a cabinet paper to obtain approval to privatise all of the over 40,000 hectares of defence ministry/military land in Malaysia.
Rafidah said Najib had also proposed that the privatisation be directly awarded to a company owned by three individuals, two men and a woman, with a 40-year lease, without open tender or requests for quotations.
The former trade minister who served for over two decades under Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said she was the only one who had questioned the plan during cabinet meetings, including on why Armed Forces fund Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) was not chosen for the proposed privatisation.
“Her statement that this three-person company which is alleged to make decisions on Mindef/armed forces land, is also untrue and is also an outright lie,” he said.
Rafidah in her post had also referred to Hishammuddin’s announcement to carry out a “large-scale commercial agricultural project” on idle Mindef land.
But Hishammuddin said this was also “an outright lie”.
“I had only thought about food security with the agriculture ministry, that was two or three years ago. Nothing has happened since then,” he said.