Former Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) chairperson Haniff Khatri Abdulla has questioned the integrity of the reappointment of Penang Umno deputy chief Shaik Hussein Mydin into the Perda board.
Haniff raised the question based on two civil suits initiated by Perda in February 2019 against previous board members, including then chairperson Shabudin Yahya and Shaik Hussein, over two plots of land allegedly sold at below market value during the BN-led administration.
Shaik Hussein was previously Perda deputy chairperson from 2013 to 2019 and he was recently reappointed as a board member.
Meanwhile, Shabudin has been appointed as the chairperson of the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra).
Malaysiakini has attempted to contact Shaik Hussein for comment.
In his Facebook posting today, Haniff Khatri pointed out both suits were still pending in court.
“It is definitely within the power, responsibility, and discretion of the rural development minister to appoint the board members of Perda.
“The integrity and good governance of Perda will be questioned by the people over the reappointment as Shaik Hussin is still facing a legal suit by Perda for (alleged) malfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty.
“As a former Perda chairperson (from January 2019 to March 2020), it is still my responsibility to voice the concern related to the reappointment of Shaik Hussin as a board member as it would invite all sorts of questions,” he said.
Haniff also questioned how Shaik Hussein could perform his duties in Perda when both cases were still pending in court.
“Will both suits in court be compromised, which is against the interest of Perda and the poor rural people at Penang?”
“How about the moral, responsibility and rights of the management, officials and staff in Perda who had helped the board to prepare the material and evidence which led to the decision on the suits.
“Will their status as management, officials and staff be compromised as well?” he asked.
Haniff said this is not a personal issue of one particular reappointment but rather on the integrity of Perda which was established in 1983 to protect the right and interest of the rural people in Penang.
He then urged Rural Development Minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad to reconsider Shaik Hussein’s appointment.
In 2016, the Auditor-General’s Report 2015 had cited Perda and Shabudin for allegedly selling land below market price and making a loss.
On Feb 13 and 14 last year, Perda filed two suits against Shabudin, Shaik Hussein and the former board on the sale of two plots of land – a 9.36-acre plot in Kampung Tok Keramat, Nibong Tebal, worth RM17.7 million and a 5.8-acre in Sungai Baong, Jawi, worth RM1.9 million – allegedly done below market value.
Haniff had claimed the cases involved allegations of fraud, misuse of power and negligence.
Shabudin had denied wrongdoing and defended the move, saying that the Kampung Tok Keramat land was sold at RM1.2 million as the land was located near a river and prone to soil erosion. – Malaysiakini