PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has hit out at Pakatan Harapan’s silence on four land swap deals carried out by the Dr Mahathir Mohamad administration in 1997.
Speaking to FMT, Najib said it was “interesting” that the people then, who were the prime minister, defence minister and finance minister, were now all in Pakatan Harapan, alluding to Mahathir, Syed Hamid Albar and Anwar Ibrahim respectively.
Najib was commenting on reports that four of the 16 land swap deals highlighted by Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu happened in 1997, during Mahathir’s first tenure as prime minister.
“Although these cases involve the biggest losses, and the most blatant infringement of giving freehold status instead of a 99-year leasehold for the land, these are not among the cases reported to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and police by the defence ministry last week.”
He said it was also interesting to note that the defence ministry has removed the report on the land swaps from its website after uploading it, not long after news portals reported that these cases happened during Mahathir’s time.
“I wonder why.
“Actually, the Barisan Nasional government during my time had to spend a lot of time resolving these cases, including claiming for losses incurred from these projects.”
Mohamad had earlier claimed that 13 of the 16 land swaps carried out during the BN administration involved former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Najib.
Mohamad also claimed that the government lost more than RM500 million due to these land swaps.
He added many discrepancies were found, including the sale of land at lower prices and the land swap projects being given to unqualified developers.
Mohamad also denied that Mahathir was involved in these deals.
FMT has reached out to Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong and Syed Hamid for comment on the matter.
Earlier today, Hishammuddin challenged his successor, Mat Sabu, and his deputy Liew Chin Tong, to prove that he had benefitted financially and politically from land swap deals struck under his tenure.
“My advice to them both is that if they live in glass houses, don’t throw stones.”
Hishammuddin went on to say that any investigation must include all former prime ministers and defence ministers.