43 ‘dubious’ land deals cleared after scrutiny, says FT minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Territories Ministry has cleared 43 of the 97 land deals handled by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) which were reported to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as dubious.

Its minister Khalid Samad said that out of the 43 transactions, 38 had no issues while five were sold below market value but a special task force scrutinising the deals accepted DBKL’s explanations.

“These five transactions were made for the Rumawip (Federal Territories Affordable Housing) project to replace squatter homes,” he said at a news conference at the DBKL headquarters today.

He said 19 deals were cancelled with 10 transaction deposits returned to the developers while eight were being renegotiated with developers and one was referred to the court.

Another 15 transactions were recommended for suspension and renegotiation due to technical discrepancies.

“The ministry and DBKL are renegotiating the land sale prices. All this will be concluded by Sept 30,” he said.

He said the remaining 20 transactions, however, had been issued land titles and transferred.

“Therefore, it is out of our power to stop these transactions. We will leave it to MACC to investigate,” he added.

Khalid had previously said these land sales did not follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) or developments being approved and guidelines on density and usage.

He said the land deals occurred during the watch of his predecessor Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

He added that the task force did not look into the possibility of corruption but only studied a win-win solution on the land deals.

The 97 transactions involved a total RM5.63 billion, and DBKL has already collected RM3.7 billion of the amount.

It was previously reported that some of the transactions involved Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan chaired by Tengku Adnan.

These transactions included a 15.24-acre site next to UTC Pudu which was valued at about RM1.5 billion but was acquired or transferred to the KL mayor for RM700 million in October 2015; a 31.7-acre parcel in Kepong transacted for RM418.22 million in September 2015; and a 1.24-acre plot in the Golden Triangle in Jalan Raja Chulan which was transferred to the KL mayor for RM101.05 million in April 2017.

Asked to comment on the Yayasan’s involvement in these transactions and revamping of the foundation, Khalid said there was a conflict of interest.

“The foundation had some part to play in this, but not a lot. However, a conflict of interest was present as the former FT minister was also the chairman of the foundation, meaning he allocated land to himself.

“This kind of deals will not happen anymore,” he said.