Shafie trying to divert attention from land grab case, says Rahman

Umno Supreme Council member Abdul Rahman Dahlan (left) accuses Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal of playing to the gallery.

PETALING JAYA: A former federal minister has accused Shafie Apdal of “twisting the facts” after the Sabah chief minister claimed the previous state government did not adhere to proper procedures in land approvals involving Sabah-based Jawala Plantations Sdn Bhd.

Shafie claimed when handing over land titles in Keningau and Sook that no one made noise when the former state government gave land away to Jawala’s owner, Majid Khan.

Abdul Rahman Dahlan explained that Jawala was roped in to take part in the sustainable forest management (SFM) and forest management unit (FMU) concept to address the issue of concessions not being issued to natives.

He said Jawala was chosen because of its experience.

But due to the scarcity of suitably sized areas in a single locality in Sabah, he said, it was deemed appropriate that the FMUs consider sharing their areas, by allowing a portion to be reforested.

He said Sapulot Forest Management agreed to surrender about 11,000 ha of their FMU licence, and once the state cabinet gave its consent, the excision was completed and Jawala’s FMU licence was issued.

Rahman said this was carried out to accelerate the forest management endeavours, which would see more players, more capital as well as equity addressed.

“Clearly playing to the gallery, Shafie, without blinking an eye, (allegedly) lied to a crowd about the land matter concerning Jawala Plantations.

“The main intention of highlighting the Jawala Plantations case is to divert attention from the Bahagak land fiasco,” the Umno Supreme Council member said in a statement, referring to the state government’s recent decision to give a plot of land to settlers in Lahad Datu.

The land was linked to a multi-million dollar land grab case involving Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew.

Liew and two others were found guilty in 2014 of unlawfully inducing a group of smallholders to breach their joint venture agreement with Borneo Samudera, a subsidiary of state-owned Sawit Kinabalu.

The High Court awarded RM557 million in damages to Borneo Samudera after ruling that it had proven the requisite conditions in law of inducement of breach of contract.

Liew, who was then a lawyer in the opposition, has appealed against the decision.

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