Khairuddin interfered in MRB land deal

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Days after the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) denied claims of a “land scandal”, plantation industries and commodities minister Khairuddin Aman Razali has again been accused of interfering with the board’s handling of two parcels of land it owns.

Former MRB chairman Ahmad Nazlan Idris has said that the minister did get involved in the matter. Ahmad Nazlan denied that he had any connection to the scandal, saying his contract had been terminated by then.

There have been allegations that Khairuddin approved the lease of two plots of land at Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur owned by the MRB, below the market rate. The minister has since lodged a police report over these allegations.

Ahmad Nazlan, who is also Jerantut MP, maintained that the MRB’s board of directors viewed this issue seriously and had formed three task forces while taking steps to improve the running of LGM Properties Corporation (LGMPC), a corporation owned by MRB.

“However, the minister interfered and allowed LGMPC to run as usual,” the Umno MP claimed in a statement today.

“About the issue of leasing the land at RM0.70 per sq ft, MRB only agreed for a period of 5+10 years. But the minister wanted 5+10+10, making it 25 years.

“The revenue that MRB could earn in that 25 years is more than RM1 billion if managed well, compared to leasing (the plot of land) for RM42 million to a Turkish-owned company,” he said.

He maintained that he performed his tasks with integrity during his time as chairman, adding that he was willing to be questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the case.

Ahmad Nazlan also said he had recently been informed of his appointment as chairman of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) by the minister and ministry’s secretary-general. However, he turned it down.

An NGO had revealed several official letters dated Dec 18, 2020, and Jan 6 and March 11 this year allegedly related to land owned by MRB.

Khairuddin was alleged to have approved the lease for Lot 20013 to Al-Noor Foundation at a price of RM0.70 per sq ft, compared with the market price of RM2.50, for a period of 15+10 years with a 10% lease rate increase every five years.

The NGO also claimed that Lot 20012, with an area of 8.89 acres, was proposed to be sold to Eurowhite Sdn Bhd at a price of RM1,032.92 per sq ft, which is said to be below the market price of about RM1,400 per sq ft.

The MRB had denied allegations of a “land scandal”, stressing that no lease agreement or sale and purchase transaction has been signed with any party on the two parcels of land.

Meanwhile, Khairuddin has lodged reports with the police over the allegations, which his political secretary Mohd Kamal Nazmi Kamaruddin described as slanderous and aimed at damaging Khairuddin’s image. – FMT