Archive for December, 2017

31
Dec
17

What happened to Felda’s land on Jalan Semarak?

What happened to Felda’s land on Jalan Semarak?

1. What happened?

LAST Thursday, pro-government newspaper Berita Harian revealed that the ownership of 66,000m2 of Felda land in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur was believed to have been transferred via a dubious transaction in 2015.

According to the report, Felda, which has not received any money from the transfer, is at risk of losing ownership of the land which is estimated to be worth RM270 million.

The dubious ownership transfer transaction involved seven towers, including the iconic Felda tower being developed by Kuala Lumpur Vertical City (KLVC), said the report.

The newspaper had conducted a check at the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) website, and discovered that the iconic Felda tower has been approved for construction.

Two days later, Berita Harian reported that the current value of the land in Jalan Semarak, which has been earmarked for joint development by KLVC, is worth an estimated RM1 billion.

The figure far surpasses the sale price of RM270 million in four sales-and-purchase agreements between Felda and Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd, developers for KLVC.

Umran Suffian Husin, a senior executive at a property valuation firm, said land along Jalan Gurney, Jalan Maktab and Jalan Semarak, where the the four parcels of land are located, are valued at RM1,300 to RM1,600 per square feet (psf).

“This is a rough estimation based on the value of property in the area. The final price would depend on the land size, the use it is zoned for, and the actual location,” the Malay daily quoted Umran saying.

Berita Harian had claimed that a KLVC source said the land was worth RM1,950psf and that foreign companies were also interested in the land parcels.

The land transfer was made while veteran Umno leader Isa Samad was Felda chairman. Felda is now headed by Johor Baru MP Shahrir Samad.

2. Who got the land?

The Felda land on Jalan Semarak is now owned by Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd, KLVC’s developer.

A check at the Registrar of Societies (RoS) showed that Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd, located at No 16, Jalan Kota Raja M 27/M, Hicom Town Centre, Seksyen 27, 40400, Shah Alam, Selangor is owned by businessman Abdul Rahman Soltan dan his sister Noraini Soltan.

3. What is the status of the land?

According to legal expert Salleh Buang, Malaysian land laws prescribe that an individual who is registered officially as the owner of a plot of land will enjoy ownership rights under the principle of indefeasibility – Section 340(1) of the National Land Act 1965.

However, Salleh said that if elements of unreasonable influence or cheating was present during the process of ownership transfer, the individual’s ownership can be disputed in court.

He said any challenges to the transfer must be made before the land is transferred to a third party.

According to Salleh, if the land is transferred to a third party (a bona fide purchaser, BFP), the action of challenging or questioning the original transfer will be made void.

4. What is the reaction of the authorities?

Astro Awani reported that the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) found no element of bribery or abuse of power in the property transfer of the Jalan Semarak land.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Azam Baki said the matter was due to management weaknesses and is under the purview of police investigations.

Deputy police chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim said a special police force has been formed to investigate the case of the “missing” Felda land.

He said police have not dismissed the possibility of calling in former Felda chairman Isa for questioning.

Isa told the media he is willing to assist in investigations, but until now, has yet to be called up by the police.

5. What is Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) reaction?

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar has urged Putrajaya to stop the drama and to take immediate action against those who have caused Felda to lose the land.

Nurul Izzah said Prime Minister Najib Razak must take immediate steps to reveal the depth of scandals plaguing Felda.

Bersatu supreme council member Zahid Mat Arip said the issue is being used to distract the people from the larger 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

Zahid, who was formerly a special officer to Isa, said he was confident that his former boss was being made the “black sheep” by Umno ahead of the 14th general election.

6. What is the reaction of Felda settlers?

Persatuan Anak Peneroka Felda Kebangaan (Anak) had urged Najib to take action as he hired Isa as Felda chairman.

Anak president Mazlan Aliman said that Najib insisted on appointing Isa as Felda chairman in 2011 in spite of objections from many quarters.

“The concept of joint responsibility, meaning Isa alone should not be held responsible. I’m sorry, Najib, you have to be responsible for the biggest disaster to hit Felda!”

7. What is the reaction of BN?

Umno youth vice-president Khairul Azwan Harun said the movement has placed full confidence in the police to conduct investigations.

Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi slammed the opposition for trying to link Najib to the Felda land issue.

He said the prime minister had already instructed for the matter to be resolved with a forensic audit conducted by an external audit team.

“So the opposition shouldn’t try to act like heroes and point fingers to blame the prime minister.

“They should urge Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali to resign because of the administrative scandals in their states,” he said.

Umno youth exco Nazir Hussin Akhtar Hussin said Felda’s board of directors has to be held responsible over the issue.

He said it was unfair to involve Najib in the issue as Felda has its own management organisation to make decisions.

8. Unanswered questions

a) How could Felda hand over the power of attorney (PA) to a developing company to develop the land, leading to the transfer of the land to that company?

b) Who are the individuals behind this transaction?

c) How did land belonging to a government agency be transferred to the hands of a private corporation without any payment, when the transaction had to go through several other government agencies before it was approved? – December 27, 2017.

…more
What happened to Felda’s land on Jalan Semarak?
27 Dec 2017 – TMI

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30
Dec
17

Najib cannot wash his hands of Felda land scandal, says settlers’ group

Najib cannot wash his hands of Felda land scandal, says settlers’ group

PRIME Minister Najib Razak cannot wash his hands of the latest scandal to befall Felda as he was the one who appointed its former chairman, Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, says Persatuan Anak Peneroka Felda Kebangsaan (Anak).

Anak president Mazlan Aliman said despite objections from various parties, Najib went ahead with Isa’s appointment in 2011.

“Following the concept of ‘shared responsibility’, Isa Samad should not be the only one to blame. Sorry, Najib… You are responsible for the catastrophe that has struck Felda.

“This is the prime minister who introduced ‘illegal gambling’ to settlers who opposed the FGV (Felda Global Ventures) listing on Bursa Malaysia,” Mazlan said in a statement today.

Reports had this week surfaced that four parcels of Felda land worth an estimated RM1 billion in Kuala Lumpur, the ownership of which was transferred to a private company under suspicious circumstances, were sold for only RM270 million.

Current Felda chief Shahrir Samad had said the agency would do all it could to get the land back, iincluding by filing a police report on December 12.

Mazlan, however, said he sympathised with Shahrir’s position as he bore the burden of having to clean up after those who had left behind a sour legacy.

Mazlan said he had, in 2014, opposed the development of Felda’s land in Jalan Semarak as it was in the initial stages of development.

“Those who had feared the worst about the Jalan Semarak development back then are now finding that they were right,” he said, adding that he urged the prime minister and the relevant authorities to reveal what their plans were moving forward.

Mazlan said there were those who were involved in the Jalan Semarak land sale still in the Felda board of directors.

“This entire shady business could have been avoided had the prime minister, (Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Razali Ibrahim and the Felda board of directors stepped in at the beginning.”

…more
Najib cannot wash his hands of Felda land scandal, says settlers’ group
24 Dec 2017 – TMI

29
Dec
17

Felda risk losing prime land in ‘dubious transaction’

Report: Felda risk losing prime land in ‘dubious transaction’

The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) is at risk of losing its rights to a piece of prime land valued at around RM200 million, located along Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur, due to an ownership transfer through an allegedly “dubious transaction” in 2015, according to a report.

Malay daily Berita Harian in a front-page report today revealed that the land is currently being developed as a part of the Kuala Lumpur Vertical City (KLVC) project, involving seven towers, including a “Felda tower” known as KLVC Tower1A – a 68-storey structure comprising 59 levels of office space and a helipad.

The report quoted sources who said the transfer was believed to have occurred on June 3, 2014, when Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC) had appointed a local company as the project’s main developer and accorded it with full power of attorney.

According to the report, the source said all decisions related to the company’s appointment was believed to have been made by FIC, but it was only informed to Felda’s board of directors after three months, on Sept 2, 2014, for approval in retrospective.

‘Confusing administration’

“It is quite confusing in terms of administration because the Felda Board is unaware who had actually made the decision, whether FIC or Felda, because at that point in time ‘the same person’ is both in FIC and Felda,” said the source, as quoted by Berita Harian.

It was stated that former Felda chairperson Isa Samad had led the agency from 2011 up to January this year.

He was also chairperson of Felda Global Ventures from Jan 1, 2011, to June 19 this year, as well as FIC’s chairperson since the company was founded on July 2, 2013, up until earlier this year.

“Felda had issued an authorisation letter to the developer to develop the project, but the land ownership was found to have been transferred since Dec 2015,” the source was further quoted as saying.

Quoting information from the Federal Territories Land and Mines Department, the report also stated that ownership for a 16-acre piece of land – part of the KLVC project that was previously the site for Felda’s old headquarters – has been transferred to another company linked to the main project developer, on July 21, 2016.

Berita Harian, meanwhile, also cited media reports on May 14, 2014, which stated that the KLVC project was initially earmarked by FIC’s subsidiary, Encorp Bhd, as a mixed commercial-residential development with a gross development value of RM500 million.

On Nov 6 the same year, however, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall had reportedly received an application for approval from KLVC’s current developer, instead of Encorp.

…more
Report: Felda risk losing prime land in ‘dubious transaction’
21 Dec 2017 – malaysiakini

28
Dec
17

Lawyer: US not likely to seek Malaysia’s help in 1MDB probe

Lawyer: US not likely to seek Malaysia’s help in 1MDB probe

Haniff Khatri says after Swiss AG’s failure to get assistance from Attorney-General Apandi Ali, US AG Jeff Sessions might skip mutual legal assistance request, but another lawyer says Sessions is likely to try.

PETALING JAYA: United States Attorney-General Jeff Sessions is unlikely to seek assistance from his counterpart here to complete their criminal investigations into 1MDB, a lawyer said.

Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said this was because AG Mohamed Apandi Ali had declined to extend the mutual legal assistance (MLA) twice when sought by the Swiss AG.

“It is highly unlikely for Sessions to get in touch with Apandi to request for cooperation following the experience of the Swiss AG,” Haniff said.

He said US investigators would likely be talking to businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, and Prime Minister Najib Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz, as they were among those named in US Department of Justice (DoJ) documents. The US government is seeking to recover properties it says were bought from money stolen from 1MDB.

Haniff, who is lawyer to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said this in response to Sessions’ statement on Dec 5 that the 1MDB issue was “kleptocracy at its worst” and that the DoJ was working to provide justice to the victims.

Lawyer S N Nair, however, said Sessions would attempt to get the assistance of Apandi as the origin of the alleged activities emanated from Malaysia.

“Therefore the only way to conduct and complete investigations is to seek MLA from Malaysia,” he said, adding however that the MLA was voluntary.

Nair said Malaysia was a sovereign nation and the US must have sufficient grounds to get the MLA or else Apandi was not bound to extend any assistance.

“So, it all depends on the AG of Malaysia.”

…more
Lawyer: US not likely to seek Malaysia’s help in 1MDB probe
December 15, 2017 – FMT

27
Dec
17

Najib, the emperor with no clothes

Najib, the emperor with no clothes

Writer says Umno will walk into this election handicapped by these factors: Najib himself, no love from the non-Malays, and massive discontent over the economy.

COMMENT

By Liew Chin Tong

If Najib Razak remains the only Prime Ministerial candidate for Barisan Nasional in this coming general election, it would not be unthinkable to see the end of the BN era.

Of course, some people might think that I make such a stand because I am from the Opposition, a fact that I do not deny as I want to see BN and Umno losing this election.

However, more importantly, I am merely describing the non-partisan political dynamics that I have been observing for quite some time.

Umno has three fundamental weaknesses. Unless very dramatic events happen to change the course of events in the next few months, Umno will walk into this election handicapped by these factors: Najib himself, no love from the non-Malays, and massive discontent over the economy.

The Najib factor

In the 2013 general election, Najib was an asset to Umno -BN. His personal brand was consistently polling higher than that of Umno -BN, especially among Malay voters. Najib’s approval rating was above 60 percent for most of the time until 2015, a watershed year.

As the 1MDB scandals and the donation-gate were exposed, the Prime Minister’s national approval rating nosedived to the thirties and never returned to its former glory.

A senior journalist wrote before the recent Umno general assembly that “internal party polls show that his (Najib) popularity ratings have steadily climbed to the high 30s. Najib is now the king of the hill given that there is no other alternative centre of power in the party.” It is amusing that the author and her source thought a rating in the high 30s for Najib is a cause to celebrate.

Some have argued that the 1MDB scandal would have no impact on the election. I beg to differ. Yes, 1MDB alone probably won’t swing votes, but the fact that the voters will walk into the polling booth knowing that the Prime Minister had taken money into his own personal bank account is an important electoral factor. Otherwise, Najib’s rating would have gone back to the 60 percent level of pre-2015, and not hovering in the 30s, a recipe for disaster for Umno -BN.

Whether they like it or not, both Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor are not liked figures among the electorate. On the social media and political gossip circles, they are constantly ridiculed by parodies, not by the Opposition but by the spontaneous public.

Unless Umno removes Najib and puts up a new set of leaders, he is a liability for the party and the ruling coalition. It even reaches the stage when anyone who is with Najib is tainted by association.

The non-Malay factor

After Umno’s right turn in 2005, signified by Hishammuddin Hussein’s keris waving antics, non-Malay voters no longer voted for Umno.

A journalist who worked for a foreign media told me a story recently. He probed a senior MCA leader on the news source of MCA’s claim that BN had 35 percent of Chinese votes. After being coy for some time, the leader finally admitted that “Liew Chin Tong said so!”.

The source for this absurd claim came from my interview with The Edge newspaper in June this year that the Opposition had a solid backing of 65 percent of non-Malay support, as shown in the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections.

In both elections, a new party Amanah was fielded in semi-urban areas yet managed to receive 65 percent of non-Malay support. (Non-Malay support for the Opposition is higher in the urban setting while majority of semi-urban non-Malay voters voted for BN until the big swing in the 2013 election).

Between the 65 percent support in the by-elections and the 85 percent non-Malay support across the board in the 2013 general election, there is, of course, a gap. It doesn’t mean BN naturally has the remaining 35 percent non-Malay support. But we know that when someone is desperate he or she will justify anything under the sun.

Hence, there is a campaign to ask Chinese voters to spoil their votes in the next election – because BN leaders know that it is impossible to convince Chinese voters to vote for them.

I concede that the swing voters among the non-Malays have yet to be convinced that BN can be defeated and that a change would be for the better. This is something Pakatan Harapan has to work on.

The discontent factor

Average Malaysians are struggling to survive because the economy is bad for them. Worse still, the Najib government refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem.

Superstar celebrity Sheila Majid’s tweet essentially exposed Umno as the emperor with no clothes. Malaysia’s Jazz Queen’s tweet about the struggles of ordinary Malaysians came just before the Umno general assembly.

During that pompous and boisterous assembly, Najib did not talk about the hardship of ordinary Malaysians. Instead, he highlighted selected statistics to show that the Malaysian economy is doing very well. For him, Malaysia is supposedly one of the best performing economies in the world.

He even claimed that Umno will continue to rule for a thousand years.

Sheila Majid’s tweet was on point, describing the financial difficulties of ordinary Malaysians. She said nothing after the tweet but minister after minister responded. One said artistes should not comment on politics while another justified that the rising cost of living is God’s will. Another one even demanded the popular singer to provide evidence on the state of our economy.

…more
Najib, the emperor with no clothes
December 14, 2017 – FMT

26
Dec
17

45 plots of land sold without open tender under Ku Nan, claim MPs

45 plots of land sold without open tender under Ku Nan, claim MPs

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has sold 45 parcels of land without open tender since Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor became the Federal Territories minister, claimed opposition lawmakers.

Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai said he had obtained this information from parliamentary replies.

“This process is completely not transparent. So much land has been converted from public land to private land, and from being intended for residential use to commercial use.

“For this generation and the next generation, we are concerned that KL will have no more public land,” he told reporters after meeting KL mayor Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz at the DBKL headquarters this morning.

Tengku Adnan has been contacted for his response on this.

Tan said when the matter was raised during the meeting, Amin (photo) had maintained that the usual procedure was adhered to when selling the land.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who also attended the meeting, said the mayor contended that the open tender process “sometimes is not a good thing”.

The mayor listed an example where, after DBKL sold a piece of prime land through open tender to the highest bidder, the buyer failed to develop the land due to unfavourable market conditions.

“So the mayor said if he had not sold it to the highest bidder and not through open tender, he could have sold it at a reasonable price.

“Then the developer could have sold (units from the development) at a more reasonable price to housebuyers. Then, everyone will be happy.

“He (Amin) said that sometimes, selling through open tender to the highest bidder is not a good thing,” added the DAP lawmaker.

Amin has been contacted to verify this.

However, Lim (photo) described Amin’s explanation as “nonsense”, arguing that DBKL could always set conditions that allowed it to re-acquire undeveloped plots after a certain timeframe.

…more
45 plots of land sold without open tender under Ku Nan, claim MPs
12 Dec 2017 – malaysiakini

25
Dec
17

Najib and Hadi losing credibility, not getting stronger

Najib and Hadi losing credibility, not getting stronger

COMMENT | The last time Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Pakatan Harapan checked, Malaysians of all classes and creeds survive on food and water. Thus, the cost of living matters. Not sheer election tactics like three-cornered fights.

By extension, the same applies to Umno and BN, only more: the latter is perpetually in endemic and monumental allegations of corruption. Be it 1MDB, Felda, Mara or Tabung Haji, Umno and BN’s fingerprints are everywhere. Like any form of systemic corruption, it gives you the feeling of sheer permanence. That one has rigged the system for good.

Further, by handing out money and BR1M without fail, Umno and BN ostensibly believe that they can entice Malaysian voters of all stripes and colours to support their audacious plan to remain in power. But the kingpins in Umno and BN are beginning to realise that this paradigm is flawed.

Now, it was just a few years ago, that Home Affairs Minister Zahid Hamidi, coined the concept of 1-4-2-3. This is to say that by the 14th general election, Umno and BN can wrest two-thirds majority from the opposition. But that was then, and this is now. Zahid Hamidi, who is now the Deputy Prime Minister, affirmed to the delegates at the Umno annual general assembly last week that both a “populist vote and a two-thirds parliamentary majority,” would have to be ruled out.

Why? Well, Zahid Hamidi, having been elevated to the deputy president of Umno, can now have access to better and stronger intelligence from members of Umno and BN, indeed, Special Branch. He knows, for a fact, that Umno and BN are reeling badly.

Two reasons. First, the cost of living keeps rising. That’s very bad news for Umno and BN. Even when Irwan Serigar, the secretary general of the Ministry of Finance, argued that there is a difference between the cost of living and cost of lifestyle, Zahid Hamidi was sheepishly quiet. The original complaint, of course, began with the diva Sheila Majid.

Zahid Hamidi knows that when the likes of Sheila Majid, a Jazz Queen, popular to Malays, Indians, and Chinese alike, complained about the increasing cost of living, Sheila wasn’t just doing a number. She can really feel the ground moving, and sense that more and more Malaysians cannot have enough to survive, let alone to attend a musical concert.

And since then, many luminaries of the Malaysian artists’ community have joined the bandwagon of raising these very real problems that majority of Malaysians are facing every hour, every day. The many luminaries include, but are not limited to Adibah Noor, Fatiya Latiff, Sarimah Ibrahim, Sharifah Amani, Siti Nurhaliza, Daphne Iking, Ahmad Idham, Farid Kamil and Linda Onn.

This is unprecedented in the history of Malaysian politics, where artists usually stay away from commenting on mainstream politics for fear of being “frozen out” from jobs. Malaysians from all walks of life have started speaking up and these artists must be lauded for their well-intended aim to be the voice of the people as well.

Clueless of people’s suffering

Second, Zahid Hamidi also knows that Umno members, especially the 191 heads of divisions, are used to living in a way that is far removed from the pains of the rural people and urban electorate.

They have no clue that people actually have to spend more on food in order to avoid hunger. And with the shrinking disposable income due to inflationary pressures (both local and imported inflation), the depreciating ringgit that is making food, dairy and beverage imports more expensive, the sudden imposition of 6% GST that snowballs the costs and the quick removal of subsidies from the very essential products like petroleum, flour and many others plus the stagnating income levels, just accentuated the problem more. The lower to middle-income group really feel the heat in making ends meet, not forgetting the 500,000 graduates and youths who are unemployed or under-employed.

…more
Najib and Hadi losing credibility, not getting stronger
14 Dec 2017 – malaysiakini




What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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