Najib urged to answer all queries on MRB land sale

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok (picture) told former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak to respond to all the direct and pointed questions on the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) land sale.

Describing the land sale as “dubious”, Kok also accused Najib’s evasiveness as a “clear admission of guilt” over the matter. She said Najib should stop being evasive as the matter is serious and involves public funds.

“This matter is serious and involves public money, both that of the MRB and Employees Provident Fund (EPF).”

“The fact that he has remained evasive from the start and keeps ‘beating around the bush’ when criticising the government’s revelation of the sale transaction, which was directed by the Cabinet under him, is a clear admission of ‘guilt’,” she said in a statement yesterday.

“Anyone can see that a direct sale to EPF would have been most logical and would have benefitted the poor and deserving contributors of EPF immensely,” she said.

“Why was Aset Tanah Nasional Bhd (ATNB), a special-purpose vehicle by the Finance Ministry (MoF), of which Najib had control, used to skim off almost RM800 million in this unwarranted sale?

“Why was EPF deprived of the discount?” the minister said further.

Last Thursday, Kok revealed that the previous Cabinet had allowed MRB to use the RM1.5 billion proceeds from the land sale to build a new lab, an office tower, a discovery centre or museum, sports facilities and a complex for transfer of technology.

She revealed that MRB, popularly known as the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, was shortchanged by RM800 million from the sale of 2,800-acre (1,133ha) piece of land to ATNB.

The deal, sanctioned by the former government, saw the SPV pocketing RM800 million in profit from Kwasa Land, a wholly owned subsidiary of EPF.

ATNB, subsequently sold the land in Sungai Buloh to Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd for a price tag of RM2.28 billion.

The MRB said it will seek legal recourse if investigations by the National Audit Department show wrongdoings in the agency’s RM1.5 billion land sale to the SPV.

In response, Najib, through his several Facebook postings said the sale benefitted EPF and by extension, its contributors.

He said EPF made huge profits after purchasing the land at RM2.28 billion, as its gross development value was at least RM50 billion.