Felda’s UK property disposal to continue

By P PREM KUMAR

The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) has no plans to shelve the proposed disposal of its hotel properties in London, despite the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) probe on its subsidiary.

Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said there will be no reversal to the earlier decision to sell certain Felda properties and that the tender process to sell one of the hotel has been called.

He said the hotel that the agency plans to sell was not related to the probe by the anti-graft agency.

“The hotel property under investigation is owned by Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC) and the one we are selling is directly owned by Felda.

“Even if there are ongoing investigations, that does not mean we cannot dispose of the properties. That process will continue,” he said after attending Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd’s (SPNB) 20th Anniversary celebration in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

FIC, the investment arm of Felda, acquired a four-star hotel in December 2014 located at the upmarket Kensington area in London for RM330 million. A year before that, Felda had paid RM538 million to acquire the Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments in Bayswater, London.

In his maiden press conference as Felda chairman in January, Shahrir had said hotel assets in London have been identified for disposal this year to raise up to RM1 billion.

Valuation of the assets would be based on market value, willing buyer-willing seller basis, as well as independent professional valuation, he was reported as saying.

On Monday, the MACC raided the FIC office in Kuala Lumpur and seized several boxes of documents.

The raid comes after fresh information was obtained by MACC which showed that the property located in an upmarket Kensington area in London was purchased at a much higher price, resulting in millions of ringgit losses to FIC.

A few of FIC officers have given their statements to the anti-graft agency and MACC has not dispelled the possibility of arrests based on the information gathered.