Take responsibility whether or not you gained, Patriot tells Hisham on land swaps

Former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein with former prime minister Najib Razak, both of whom have been accused of involvement in land swaps carried out during BN’s administration. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A group of veterans and retired police officers today urged former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein to take responsibility for the land swap controversy which his successor Mohamad Sabu recently claimed had involved both him and the former prime minister.

In a statement, the National Patriots Association (Patriot) said Hishammuddin should take responsibility “whether he personally benefitted or not”.

This comes after the Sembrong MP challenged Mohamad and his deputy Liew Chin Tong to prove that he had benefitted from the land swap deals struck under his tenure.

Calling this “laughable”, Patriot president Mohamed Arshad Raji said whether or not Hishammuddin had directly benefited from the deals was up to the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate.

“Patriot urges investigations be conducted swiftly, bringing to book all previous defence ministers who served from 1997 to May 2018 if there are grounds for suspicion.

“Action must be taken against officials who failed to ensure that the land swap deals were conducted in accordance with SOP. For projects that have not started, and even those ongoing, renegotiation is needed, like what the finance ministry has successfully done,” he said.

The 16 land swaps took place at Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur, Tanah Batu Uban in Penang, Bukit Raja in Selangor, Plentong in Johor, Tanah Rata in Pahang, Bandar Kinrara in Selangor, and Stampin in Sarawak.

Mohamad had said 13 of the 16 land swaps carried out during Barisan Nasional’s administration involved his predecessor and the former prime minister.

He said investigations had found that the government lost more than RM500 million due to these land swaps.

He also noted discrepancies such as the sale of land at lower prices and the award of projects to unqualified developers.