KUCHING, Aug 12 — Claiming to have fresh evidence in hand, Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen today urged national graftbusters to investigate a questionable state land sale to Standard Parade Development Sdn Bhd, a private company linked to Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud for what he alleged to be a sale at a massive discount.
Chong said he had documents to prove the improper sale of a 108-hectare plot of prime land in the town of Batu Kawa near here that belonged to state-linked unit trust fund Permodalan ASSAR Sdn Bhd, whose shareholders are Lembaga Amanah Kebajikan Masjid Negeri Sarawak, Yayasan Sarawak, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation, Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation.
“Beside the issue of impropriety of state land worth about RM500 million sold at a grossly discounted price of RM115 million, why was the land, belonging to a state-linked company alienated to a private company?” he told reporters at the state Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters here before submitting the papers.
The controversy began last year when the land was approved for alienation to Standard Parade Development at a price of RM115 million just before Abdul Taib stepped down as state chief minister on February 28.
Previously, the land in question had been alienated to ASSAR for a proposed Batu Kawa Township Development by the Lands and Surveys of Kuching Division in a letter dated June 8, 1996.
On March 8, 2014, 10 days after Tan Sri Adenan Satem took over from Abdul Taib, the land changed hands again through an agreement signed by State Secretary Tan Sri Morshidi Ghani on behalf of Sarawak while Standard Parade Development Sdn Bhd was represented by its general manager Barry Tan.
According to the agreement, Standard Parade Development would not be paying in cash, but would instead construct a building for the Association for the Wives of Ministers and Assistant Ministers (SABATI), to be named Bangunan Laila, after Abdul Taib’s late wife in Kuching, and two orphanage homes in Mukah and Lawas, at total cost of about RM115 million.
On January 14 this year, Chong, who is also Bandar Kuching federal lawmaker, submitted a set of documents to MACC to start conducting investigation into the alienation of 267.15 acres of state land to Standard Parade Development, alleging improprieties in the alienation of the land.
Today, Chong said there could be a conflict of interest in the alienation of the state land to Standard Parade Development in exchange for the construction of the building for SABATI and two orphanage homes.
“If the alienation was approved by members of the State Cabinet, then there is conflict of interest because they were approving something for their wives,” said the Kota Sentosa assemblyman.