Teoh El Sen | March 26, 2012
The state assemblyman for Teruntum says he will ask land authorities to probe allegations against members of ex-MB Khalil Yaakob’s administration.
PETALING JAYA: MCA has promised to ask Pahang land authorities to investigate allegations that former state officials had abused Malay Reserve land for personal gain.
MCA’s Chang Hong Seong (photo, right), the state assemblyman for Teruntum, said he would bring up the issue at the next monthly meeting of the Kuantan District Land Committee.
He was reacting to a FMT report published last week that said the government of former menteri besar Mohd Khalil Yaakob de-gazetted the most valuable piece of land in Kuantan, divided it up, and sold the lots to members of the administration at “grossly undervalued” prices.
At least one of the lots was sold to a non-Malay, according Pedas Leaks, the anti-corruption group that made the allegations.
Pedas Leaks said those who benefitted from the exercise included Khalil (now the Governor of Malacca), former deputy menteri besar Hasan Arifin and former state executive councillors Omar Othman, Hamdan Jaafar, and Halim Ibrahim.
The group has lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), urging it to investigate the “dubious land transactions”.
Chang said he had “full confidence” that MACC would probe the allegations thoroughly.
“My previous experience with the Pahang MACC has been good,” he said.
Chang, who is a first-term assemblyman, said he had little knowledge of the case and was trying to get more information it.
Two PKR leaders interviewed by FMT were less restrained in their remarks about the case.
Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh described it as a “classic example of the plundering of state resources that has been going on for a long long time. The timber, the tin mines, the iron mines, the gold—all of it—have been plundered by these so called state leaders.”
“Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob should not keep silent,” she said. “But if he chooses to, which will most likely be the case, then the least he could do is to give to the MACC the green light to go through all the files.”
Pahang PKR chief Fauzi Abdul Rahman, said the state had been so badly managed that it was one of the weakest economically.
“Look at how much they are losing,” said the former Umno member and deputy minister. “With a forest acre quota of 30,000 per year, they are only making about RM90 million. The target should be around RM500 to 550 million.
“Look at Kedah, with a lot less acreage, its revenue is about RM17,000 per acre.”
Fauzi said the Pahang government, in constant deficit, was either “stupid or corrupt”.
“They are simply, experts in cheating. The current menteri besar will never respond to this issue. He is a real idiot with no culture.
“To be a leader, you need something upstairs, the brain, and something downstairs, the heart. If you are not trustworthy, you are nothing.
“Greed is the problem. That’s why things like the Lynas rare earth plant can happen.”
The land in question – located at Taman Tok Sira a few hundred metres away from the Menteri Besar’s residence –was originally state land but was split into 14 pieces of housing land and alienated to government-linked company Pasdec Corporation Sdn Bhd in 1997. This transfer was approved by the state on April 2, 1997.
According to documents produced by Pedas Leaks, Pasdec subsequently sold off the 14 lots to the administration officials.
In the case of the former deputy menteri besar, he acquired 14,000 square feet for RM76,499 on Dec 31, 2001, when the market price was RM213,000, as valued by the Valuation and Property Services Department. In September 2004, he sold the land to one Ti Lian Yeah for RM397,683.02.