PETALING JAYA: Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok today accused Najib Razak of “beating around the bush” regarding the Malaysian Rubber Board’s (MRB) alleged loss of RM800 million in the 2010 sale of 2,800 acres of land in Sungai Buloh.
In a statement, she challenged the former prime minister to respond to all questions pertaining to the sale of land known as Lot 481.
“This matter is serious and involves public money, both that of the MRB and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF),” she said.
“The fact that he has remained evasive from the start and keeps ‘beating around the bush’ when criticising the government’s revelation of the the sale transaction, which was directed by the Cabinet under him, is a clear admission of ‘guilt’.”
Kok had claimed on Jan 4 that the land was sold to Aset Tanah Nasional Bhd (ATNB), a special purpose vehicle of the finance ministry, for RM1.5 billion.
ATNB then sold 2,330 acres of the land to EPF-owned Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd for RM2.28 billion, on what the retirement fund said was “arm’s length basis”.
Najib had defended the land sale, saying the EPF made huge profits after purchasing the land at RM2.28 billion, as its gross development value was at least RM50 billion.
He said he had explained several times that ATNB, which sold the land to the EPF, was a wholly-owned company under the finance ministry, and that MRB, which is wholly owned by the government, had sold the land to ATNB which then sold it to the EPF.
He also told MRB chairman Sankara Nair to ask Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng about the RM800 million difference in price.
However, Nair hit back at Najib, accusing the former prime minister of “pussyfooting” and dodging his questions.
Kok too said Najib was “deflecting the issue”.
Noting that ATNB was an incorporated company limited by guarantee, she said it was not subject to very stringent financial restrictions.
“Anyone can see that a direct sale to EPF would have been the most logical and would have benefited the poor and deserving contributors of EPF immensely.
“Why was ATNB, a special purpose vehicle by the finance ministry of which Najib had control used to skim off almost RM800 million in this unwarranted sale? Why was EPF deprived of the discount?”