Mindef lodges 14 more MACC reports on land swap deals

The defence ministry says the total 16 land swap deals involve 1,182ha of land owned by the government, valued at RM4.7 billion.

PUTRAJAYA: The defence ministry today lodged another report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the remaining 14 land swap deals involving lands owned by the ministry.

The report was lodged by Mohd Nasaie Ismail, the special task officer to the defence minister, at the MACC headquarters here following the Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigating Committee’s findings on 16 land swap deals involving land belonging to the ministry.

In February, the ministry had lodged a report to the MACC on two projects involving the construction of army camps in Paloh, Johor, and Hutan Melintang, Perak.

According to Nasaie, in total, the 16 land swap deals involved 2,923 acres (1,182ha) of land owned by the government, valued at RM4.7 billion, while the value of the projects that were supposed to be developed was RM4.8 billion.

“As of December 2018, only five projects were completed, two were still under construction while the remaining nine projects either failed to be completed or are still in the process of signing of agreements,” he told reporters before lodging the report here today.

Nasaie explained only two out of the 16 land swap projects, namely the National Centre for Education in Putrajaya and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Squadron’s 323 facility at Bukit Banang, Johor, were included in the Defence Ministry’s Development Plan.

“This means the remaining 14 projects were not included in the development plan and are definitely not a priority.”

He said political considerations outweighed government interests in 13 of the 16 projects.

The selection of project developers also did not follow the criteria, which required the developers to have experience and strong financial position of at least 10% of the value of the project. Failure to do this resulted in the delay of the projects, with some up to 11 years, he said.

Nasaie said the investigation estimated that the government had lost a total of RM515.21 million due to the extension on the completion date for the projects that failed to be completed on time, additional contracts which were not included in the original plan, and the lowered land price value compared with the current price assessed by the Valuation and Property Services Department.

“Our concern is not just on the loss of money, but on the fact that the country’s strategic defence had been compromised due to the failure of certain projects, hence posing a threat to national security,” he said.