PPBM supreme council member A Kadir Jasin, writing in his blog yesterday, advised Johor’s new menteri besar, Sahruddin Jamal, to ensure that the Pakatan Harapan-led state government does not repeat past practices of Barisan Nasional (BN) in granting land to royalty.
He said dubious land deals during BN days were not a surprise but it was worrying that there were now claims of similar deals being carried out under the current administration.
He said Sahruddin Jamal should look into the allegations if he does not want to suffer the fate of his predecessor Osman Sapian, who was abruptly replaced after 11 months in office.
“We will allow him some time because he has just assumed office. We just wish to let him know that we are keeping our eyes and ears open to see what he will do,” Kadir said.
Land deals in Johor have been in the spotlight recently. A piece of government land for a mass transit project was alleged to have been transferred to the Sultan of Johor. He has since said he was unaware of the change, and offered to return the land if the project was to proceed.
Questions have also been raised about a hotel and golf resort which was said to have encroached on a wildlife reserve.
Kadir said Melaka’s PH-run state government and Chief Minister Adly Zahari had also been informed of Putrajaya’s sentiments about a recent suit by Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, seeking to overturn a compulsory acquisition of a 75-hectare plot of land in Jasin.
Sime Darby Plantation has alleged that the acquisition was a land grab by a foreign company using its connections to royalty.
In Kuala Lumpur, meanwhile, Kadir said a member of the royal household was able to purchase 2.4 hectares of government land at drastically below market rates. The royal person is said to have paid RM6 million for a 1.4-hectare plot of land worth RM30 million, and RM4.5 million for a one-hectare plot valued at RM45 million.
Such practices were rampant during the reign of Najib, who also did not spare land owned by the military, he said.
Pakatan Harapan, which has pledged to reform the country’s institutions and eradicate corruption, must act to destroy the legacy of Najib, who believes that money is king, Kadir said.
“At a time when land has grown scarce and many Malaysians cannot afford to own a home, it is unjust that land belonging or endowed to the government should be sold cheaply to anybody.”