PETALING JAYA: The state governments of Johor and Melaka were put on notice today that their actions on land transfers are under public scrutiny.
PPBM supreme council member A Kadir Jasin, writing in his blog this morning, also advised Johor’s new menteri besar, Sahruddin Jamal, to ensure that the Pakatan Harapan-led state government does not repeat past practices of Barisan Nasional in granting land to royalty.
He said suspicious land deals during BN days were not a surprise but it was worrying that there were now claims of similar deals being carried out under the current administration.
Kadir hoped Sahruddin would investigate and confirm these claims, saying that Sahruddin “would not want to repeat past mistakes and suffer the same fate as his predecessor” (Osman Sapian, who was replaced as menteri besar in April after 11 months in office).
Land deals in Johor have been in the spotlight recently. A piece of government land for a mass transit project was alleged to have been transferred to the Sultan of Johor. He has since said he was unaware of the change, and offered to return the land if the project was to proceed.
Questions have also been raised about a hotel and golf resort which was said to have encroached on a wildlife reserve.
Kadir said Sahruddin should be given time to settle into his post, but all eyes would be on what the new menteri besar would do.
He said Melaka’s PH-run state government and Chief Minister Adly Zahari had also been informed of Putrajaya’s sentiments about a recent suit by Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, seeking to overturn a compulsory acquisition of a 75-hectare plot of land in Jasin.
Sime Darby Plantation has alleged that the acquisition was a land grab by a foreign company using its links to royalty.
Kadir also alleged that a member of royalty had been allowed to buy a total of 2.4 hectares of government land at a steep discount to market price – a 1.4-hectare plot with a valuation of RM30 million went for RM6 million, and a further one-hectare plot valued at RM45 million went for RM4.5 million.
Quoting a Malay proverb, Kadir cited historical instances of the Dutch East India Company taking more than it had been granted, and said such practices were also taking place in current times.
He said such practices were widespread under the government of Najib Razak and the land deal in Kuala Lumpur was “among the legacies left behind by Najib”.