Two cases of support letters during the tenures of two previous FT ministers

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Annuar Musa allegedly assisted a developer secure two plots of land, while Khalid Samad endorsed a project.

Annuar Musa

An Amanah leader has lodged a report with the MACC over an allegation that Annuar Musa assisted a developer to secure two plots of land during his tenure as the federal territories minister.

Bandar Tun Razak Amanah division chief Hayatul Kamil Termudi made the report today after two letters went viral on social media.

The first letter, allegedly drafted by Evermark Realty Sdn Bhd to Annuar, on Aug 10, 2020, purportedly applied with the then federal territories minister for two plots of land at Jalan Peel, Kuala Lumpur, for mixed development.

The second letter, allegedly penned by Annuar on Sept 15 this year, showed he withdrew his initial support for the developer in its application for the 1.17ha (2.9 acres) land. A copy of this letter was allegedly sent to the developer.

Annuar is now the communications and multimedia minister.

In his report, Hayatul alleged that Annuar had abused his cabinet position as one of his relatives is a director of the company.

He also questioned the financial ability of the company in developing the plots.

“Evermark was said to have a low paid-up capital but it was supported to develop 2.9 acres of land (126,324 sq ft),” Hayatul said, adding that the plot can cost over RM100 million if the land costs about RM800 per square foot.

“In a letter dated Sept 15, Annuar withdrew his support and claimed that his relative was not with the company when the developer applied for (the plots). However, the ministry should answer if this could hinder the land exco from granting the land to the company.

“I urge MACC to open an investigation immediately,” added Hayatul.

While winding up the debate on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday, Arau MP Shahidan Kassim acknowledged that Evermark was recommended to be considered for the land under Section 76 of the National Land Code.

“The land acquisition was being considered. The transfer of land is still not completed, given the cancellation reservations under Section 64 of the Land Code,” he said.

Shahidan also informed that the company increased its paid-up capital to RM2 million in May.

Khalid Samad

Meanwhile, after being accused of helping a private developer obtain an approval letter for a project in 2019, former federal territories minister Khalid Samad is now clarifying the matter.

Khalid said that he penned his signature on the application letter, suggesting the project be approved as it was in line with the vision of the ministry at that point of time, which was to build one million affordable homes in Kuala Lumpur.

“I suggested that this application be approved because it was in line with the vision of the Ministry of Federal Territories at that time, which was to build one million affordable homes in Kuala Lumpur.

Faihan Ghani/The Star

“This was because affordable housing was needed by the low- and middle-income groups in Kuala Lumpur as the price of ordinary houses is expensive and this group that works in Kuala Lumpur could not afford it,” he said in a statement today responding to a report in a news portal.

News outlet MalaysiaNow published an article last week saying that the Shah Alam MP had provided a letter of endorsement despite Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) policy against it.

Today, the portal revealed the letter, in which it claimed that Khalid had personally backed the developer’s bid for the project.

The portal alleged that the company had sought Khalid’s help after its application to the Federal Territories Lands and Mines Office, which was initially approved, was revoked.

It said that the company had written to Khalid about six months after PH came into power.

The Amanah lawmaker went on to explain that although he was the FT minister then, the approval was not under his jurisdiction but the Chief Secretary to the Government.

“After receiving the first letter from the applicant, I instructed my political secretary, Azli Yusof, to refer this matter to the Land and Mines Office and also the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to find out plans for use of the land, if any.

“Almost a year later, after I received the second letter, only then I applied to the Federal Territory Land Exco, chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government, to ‘consider’ the approval of this application after getting a clear picture of the status of this land from the land office and DBKL.

“I, myself, am not in the Kuala Lumpur Land Exco and this exco is not under my authority. It is therefore appropriate for me to provide views on this development proposal in writing.

“The exco who will consider this application is also not under my jurisdiction as the FT minister as it is directly under the Chief Secretary to the Government. And it is not possible for a minister to direct the chief secretary, who reports to the prime minister,” he said.

Khalid said none of his notes on the letter had carried the meaning or forced anyone to approve the project but was merely to consider the proposal.

“The more appropriate word to be used would have been ‘please consider’ or ‘hope you look into this matter’ but the sentence ‘hope to be approved because…’ is also not an instruction. It’s different from ‘please approve’.

“However, I emphasise here, my request for this land to be approved was for the purpose of fulfilling the vision of getting one million affordable homes in Kuala Lumpur. Without land, where will these houses be built?

“Therefore, the regular application has to go through the usual process, including the conditions to be imposed as well as the price to be paid for it. I only support this application for the sake of the project I want to implement,” he said.