Nothing to hide, says Shahrir on Felda’s RM2 billion suit

Shahrir Samad is alleged by Felda to have covered up a land deal in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur, before the 2018 general election.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Felda chairman Shahrir Abdul Samad, who is being sued by Felda for RM2 billion damages over a land deal, said today he had “nothing to hide” after Felda served the papers for the suit on him today.

Shahrir said he chose to receive the documents in person at Menara Felda here in the spirit of openness as the case was one of public interest, involving a government agency.

He said his lawyers would go through Felda’s demands.

Last month, Felda said it was suing Shahrir and another former Felda chairman, Isa Samad, in connection with a deal to develop 23 plots of Felda land in Jalan Semarak.

Felda sought RM2.06 billion in damages from them as well as a private company, Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd (SPSB), its two owners and 16 others. Felda alleged that there was a conspiracy to defraud the agency, and that Shahir had covered it up before the 2018 general election.

Shahrir said he did not know the details of the suit as he had just received the writ. However, he responded to demands by the prime minister’s media adviser, A Kadir Jasin, for the return of 17 land titles at Jalan Semarak.

Shahrir said the titles were already in Felda’s hands, and that Synergy Promenade had returned the disputed land in February 2018.

“I made a search in the Federal Territories Land Office and found that all 23 lots of land involved are already registered under Felda, and I was made to understand that the grants for those lands are also in Felda’s keeping.

“This is what’s quite confusing. So to avoid further confusion, I have delivered my findings on these lots of land to the four stakeholders in Felda” – representatives of Felda settlers, senior officers, workers and youth association.

Shahrir said he gave them his findings to show that he had not betrayed any trust while he was Felda chairman (from June 2017 to May 2018), adding that he was surprised by Kadir’s demands for the land titles to be returned.

The Felda suit seeks an order to cancel all ownership transfer instruments for the Jalan Semarak land, on which the KL Vertical City property development project was to be built. Felda alleged that the land was awarded to SPSB “on terms that were clearly unfavourable to Felda”.