Prasarana Malaysia Berhad chairman Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman has insisted there is no conflict of interest in the Latitud 8 project, as alleged in news reports.
Tajuddin said when the project was awarded in 2012, it was before he was appointed as chairman of the national transport operator.
He also defended himself by saying that at that time, as a businessman, he too needed to make a living.
“I don’t see anything wrong, if you ask me.
“The project was awarded eight years ago, when I was Felcra chairman at the time. If you got a project eight years ago through an open tender, was it wrong?” he asked reporters during a press conference.
Tajuddin added that he transferred his interest to his family members after becoming a deputy minister in 2013.
“I told (then prime minister) Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, I have these businesses, what can I do? I can’t possibly throw them into the drain.
“I asked if he can transfer the shares to my daughter and family,” he said.
The project was granted by Prasarana to Intan Sekitar Sdn Bhd, which is 51 percent owned by publicly listed Crest Builder Holdings Berhad and 49 percent owned by Detik Utuh Sdn Bhd.
Tajuddin’s family has a 40 percent stake in Detik Utuh Sdn Bhd through Tindakan Juara Sdn Bhd, giving them an effective holding of 19.6 percent in the project.
The company had come into the spotlight following reports that the Prasarana board is considering to terminate the project by paying RM80 million to Intan Sekitar.
“There are allegations that I demanded Intan Sekitar to be terminated and for the board to approve a RM80 million compensation. I would be rich if that were the case.
“As far as I know, the board has yet to make any such decision,” he added.
He added that the project had since been halted following the downturn of the property market.
When asked if Prasarana has plans to terminate the project altogether, Tajuddin said it would be a waste if it were scrapped.
Tajuddin said the project was facing challenges due to the poor property market and couldn’t secure sales.
The RM80 million figure is the amount Intan Sekitar claimed it had spent but it did not mean that Prasarana will agree to the amount, he said, stressing that there is a due diligence process
Tajuddin said some time should be given for the market to recover and a relaunch could be done, and in return, no one will lose out from this project.
Meanwhile, Prasarana deputy chief strategic communications and marketing officer Rafizah Amran confirmed that the company is under probe by the MACC over recent “negative news” reported in the media.
Rafizah, who was one of the persons interviewed by the commission, did not elaborate on the negative news but stressed the company’s commitment to cooperate with the probe.
“Being a government agency, we will assist the MACC in their investigations.
“No laptops or phones were confiscated. They requested a few documents which they sighted and some they took with them,” Rafizah said.