JOHOR BARU, March 1 — Members of a high-powered motorcycle group in Johor could be linked to shady land deals in the state, revealed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators.
Sources said Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raub, one of six suspects arrested on Friday, was the alleged “deal maker” and had funded the motorcycle group.
“He could have used money he received as kickbacks to sponsor the group. We are also investigating if members of the group were linked to the scandal,” a source in the thick of investigations said.
The 44-year-old businessman is under the spotlight following allegations he masterminded the conversion of Bumiputera land to non-Bumiputera status and other land matters causing the state government to lose millions of ringgit.
Anti-corruption officers visited a motorcycle shop in Kebun Teh, where the motorcyclists had apparently purchased the motorcycles, yesterday.
As investigators trace how far back the six suspects have been active, it was discovered that Amir had allegedly assisted developers to convert the land status from Bumiputera to non-Bumiputera status and international lots for a fee or received a cut from the sale of units built on the land of which the status was converted.
International lots were for foreigners intending to buy properties in the state.
“Amir is a well-connected businessman with diverse interests in construction, land brokerage, development and imported recon cars. He is the main intermediary for developers,” a source said.
Amir was a director of Mahabuilders Sdn Bhd and managing director of CCT Sdn Bhd, a company under the MB Group.
“Our investigations also showed Mahabuilders had a unique hierarchy with several subsidiaries in the group,” the source said.
Amir's arrest gave anti-graft investigators a glimpse of his lifestyle and sudden rise in the construction and development industry.
It was understood MACC visited Mahabuilders on Monday and yesterday to search for documents related to the land deals.
The others arrested included Ahmad Fauzan Hatim, Muhammad Idzuan Jamalludin, both in their 20s, a lawyer, another businessman and an individual.
The arrests rattled the state as Ahmad Fauzan is the eldest son of Johor housing and local government committee chairman Datuk Abd Latif Bandi while Idzuan is Abd Latif’s special officer.
“Ahmad Fauzan and Idzuan were the alleged ‘runners’ for Amir, as they went around collecting payments for the conversion of land. The lawyer was detained for allegedly receiving money from illicit sources,” the source said.
Investigators would also visit “several state government agencies soon”, the source added.
MACC arrested another suspect, a 46-year-old contractor, at his home yesterday and seized documents related to the land deals.
An order was obtained from the magistrate’s court to remand the suspect for seven days.