KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The police are also probing Lembaga Tabung Haji regarding allegations of mismanagement and power abuse in its land purchase from debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said.
Khalid said police officers had already visited Tabung Haji to check the documents on the land deal.
“Regarding the accusations of mismanagement and power abuse by the leadership of TH regarding the purchase of land at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), the investigations have already been initiated. Today (yesterday), my officers went to TH to see the related documents,” he was quoted saying yesterday by local daily Berita Harian.
Khalid clarified that the police were not merely probing the land deal under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) over leaked information, adding that the case was initially classified under the law that protects government secrets as the Muslim pilgrimage fund is a government-linked firm.
“The investigation involves the leaking of official government information in TH, that initially was made according to the Official Secrets Act (OSA) because it is a government-linked company (GLC).
“I want to explain, the investigation now does not go towards OSA. When we get more facts through investigation, then only will we identify the offence that has happened and what laws we should use,” he said.
Other than the OSA, Khalid said that laws such as the Tabung Haji Act 1995 may also be used based on the evidence found.
Following the leakage of LTH’s alleged plans to buy two properties from 1MDB, the pilgrimage fund was forced to make public its RM188.5 million purchase of a plot of land from the state investment fund a month ago.
LTH later lodged a police report over the leakage of the documents, with the IGP confirming that the OSA would be used.
But critics have said that the police should investigate LTH over the land deal instead of going after whistleblowers.
Last Saturday, LTH said it would sell off the land by this week on the advice of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, despite only holding on to it for a month and its initial plans to develop the land.
Amid controversy over the land deal, LTH explained that its purchase of the 1.56 acre land plot in TRX was for a luxury condominium development project, insisting that the price of RM2,774 per square foot was a good deal.
The TRX plot was previously expected to net LTH an annual return of 9 per cent and a total profit of RM177.5 million in three years, the fund said.
The purchase has since been criticised by many from both sides of the political divide as allegedly amounting to a bailout of 1MDB, with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad even suggesting that the land deal be cancelled.
The Tun Razak Exchange, planned as a 70-acre financial centre within the capital, is one of two high-profile property projects in 1MDB’s portfolio.