No irregularity in Malaysian Rubber Board’s RM1.5b land sale, says former minister

On Thursday, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the government had unearthed dealing, including those by the previous government, that caused MRB huge losses. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
On Thursday, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the government had unearthed dealing, including those by the previous government, that caused MRB huge losses. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 ― Former Plantation and Commodities minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the price of RM1.5 billion for the sale of Sungai Buloh land, previously owned by Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB), was under instruction from the government.

The Star reported that Dompok said the previous government had instructed the land to be sold to Aset Tanah Negara Berhad (ATNB) and that the Finance Ministry wanted it to be transferred to a company for a nominal sum.

He said MRB then went for a valuation exercise, conducted by the Valuation and Property Services Department after which the price was agreed upon.

“There was no irregularity. It was quite simple actually,” Dompok, who was minister from 2008 till 2013, was quoted in The Star.

“But what happened after that would be beyond the scope of MRB.”

In 2010, MRB sold a 2,800 acre plot of land in Sungai Buloh to ATNB, a special purpose vehicle of the Finance Ministry for RM1.5 billion. The following year ATNB sold 2,330 acres of the land to Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for RM2.28 billion.

Following complaints from MRB's current office bearers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) decided to investigate the matter. Auditor-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad said they're in the midst of completing the audit report on the land but wouldn't divulge information on it.

“We are now in the midst of completing the audit report. Once the reports is completed, we will share the findings with the board in order to get their feedback,” said Madinah.

On Thursday, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the government had unearthed dealing, including those by the previous government, that caused MRB huge losses.

She revealed that in October 2010, ATNB acquired the land from the MRB for RM1.5 billion, allegedly sold below market value. The land was then sold to EPF by MRB for RM2.28 billion in 2012.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has vehemently denied these claims stating the land was sold at the appropriate market value which was RM18.90 per sq feet.

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