In Twitter war, minister calls Rafizi clown over ‘bailout’ label for Tabung Haji-1MDB land deal

Abdul Rahman insisted that he is not defending 1MDB and said he wants the company investigated. — Bernama pic
Abdul Rahman insisted that he is not defending 1MDB and said he wants the company investigated. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Umno minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan called today PKR’s Rafizi Ramli a “political clown” for dubbing Lembaga Tabung Haji’s (LTH) land purchase from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) a bailout for the debt-laden state investment arm.

“@rafiziramli Jangan jadi badut politik YB. Jangan nak lagak bodoh tak atau beza pelaburan dan bail-out! @Khairykj @azeezputera,” Abdul Rahman tweeted yesterday from his @mpkotabelud Twitter account, tagging Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and LTH chairman Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim.

[Translation: @rafiziramli Don’t be a political clown, YB. Don’t act stupid and pretend that you don’t know the difference between investment and bailout! @Khairykj @azeezputera].

In a war of words over Twitter, the opposition MP who had entered the spotlight over his expose of the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) cattle-farming scandal, shot back at Abdul Rahman and said: “Ha3 ni dia badut politik yg dulu juga defend NFC beli kondo sbg pelaburan! Kamu sokong Najib kan? Ha3 patut la”.

[Translation: Hahaha. This is the political clown who once defended NFC buying condominiums as an investment! You support Najib right? Hahaha. No wonder].

Opposition lawmakers have questioned LTH’s purchase of a plot of land in the Tun Razak Exchange project from 1MDB, which the pilgrimage fund said it bought for a discounted rate of RM188.5 million.

DAP’s Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari said today that the RM188.5 million purchase, or RM2,773 per sq ft, was still “exorbitant”, pointing out that 1MDB had bought the 1.56-acre land for just RM64 per sq ft in 2011.

LTH chief executive officer Datuk Johan Abdullah said yesterday that the investment was in line with the pilgrimage fund’s strategic plan to focus on property development.

In response to Abdul Rahman’s “political clown” jibe, Rafizi tweeted from his @rafiziramli account: “Careful what you say here. Any investment in 1MDB by state entities with public money is bailout now”.  

Abdul Rahman insisted that he is not defending 1MDB and said he wants the company investigated.

“But I can't stand ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude,” he told Rafizi.

Police said today that they will investigate the disclosure of official papers of the contentious land deal between LTH and 1MDB under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Quoting sources with direct knowledge on the matter, Reuters reported yesterday that 1MDB is set to sell two plots of land from the Tun Razak Exchange project to LTH for about RM700 million. LTH said subsequently that only one plot of land was bought.

The speculation first surfaced in a blog called “The Benchmark” which showed purported documents of the transaction.

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