SPAD board has yet to decide on interim replacement for Isa Samad

Court orders Mohd Isa to be remanded for 5 days on suspicion of graft

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN

The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has not decided on electing an interim acting chairman in place of Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad following his arrest by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on graft charges.

Mohd Isa, 61, who was made acting chairman of SPAD in June after he resigned as chairman of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH), was yesterday ordered at the Putrajaya Magistrates Court to be remanded for five days on suspicion of graft over purchases by Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC) of two properties in London, UK, and Kuching, Sarawak.

A SPAD spokesman said its board of directors can elect any of its members to act as interim chairman in the absence of Mohd Isa, who was also former chairman of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).

“No decision has been made. Members of the commission meet once or twice a month and the company secretary will make a decision. Basically, it does not affect our operations; it is business as usual for us,” the spokesperson told The Malaysian Reserve.

Mohd Isa, who was Felda chairman until January, was detained on Tuesday after a two-hour meeting with MACC investigators in Putrajaya. Following the arrest, the MACC conducted a search at Mohd Isa’s house in Selangor to acquire further evidence.

Former FIC CEO Zaid Abdul Jalil and Mohd Isa’s former aide, Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, have also been remanded to help with the investigation. Other FIC directors and lawyers who were involved in the hotels deals have also been questioned.

Reports first surfaced in 2014 that FIC had bought the four- star Grand Plaza Hotel in Kensington, London, for RM330 million — allegedly more than triple its estimated market value of RM110 million.

Also in 2014, FIC reportedly had paid RM160 million for the Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, said to be RM50 million higher than its estimated market value.

MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki had previously said there was strong basis to charge Mohd Isa.

Mohd Isa was Felda chairman until his term expired in January this year, but remained FGVH chairman until he resigned in June.

He was then appointed acting chairman of SPAD by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.

MACC

FGVH and Felda came under MACC investigation following allegations made by Zakaria after he was suspended from his post pending a domestic inquiry (Pic: Bernama)

At the same time, both FGVH and Felda also came under MACC investigation following allegations made by former FGVH president and CEO Datuk Zakaria Arshad after he was suspended from his post pending a domestic inquiry over non-payment of palm oil contracts from Dubai’s Safitex Trading LLC.

On June 21, Mohd Isa and his wife were called in to give their statements to MACC.