Ministry on hotel sale: Najib should focus on corruption cases, not spread fake news

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu's press secretary, Amin Shah Iskandar says that the sale of the Hotel Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang is still not finalised. — Picture courtesy of royalechulan.com
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu's press secretary, Amin Shah Iskandar says that the sale of the Hotel Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang is still not finalised. — Picture courtesy of royalechulan.com

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 ― The Defence Ministry today reaffirmed that Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera’s (LTAT) Boustead Holdings Bhd has yet to finalise a deal to sell a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu's press secretary, Amin Shah Iskandar, refuted Datuk Seri Najib Razak's continued claims that the hotel was sold.

“It is clear the sale of the Hotel Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang is still not finalised and Najib is advised to focus on the corruption-linked cases that he is facing instead of continuing to spread false news,” he said in a statement today.

Amin was responding to Najib's February 27 questioning of the defence minister's office's statement that the hotel sale was not finalised, with Najib also suggesting that the defence minister may be unaware of an announcement on Bursa Malaysia by Boustead on February 19.

“Actually what is even more saddening, Najib as the former prime minister and former finance minister may have only read the title of Boustead's announcement to Bursa Malaysia and did not read its contents at all, which caused him to fail to understand why the Defence Minister's Office said the sale of Hotel Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang has yet to be finalised,” Amin said.

In the February 19 company announcement titled “Proposed Disposal of Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang Hotel for a Total Cash Consideration of RM197 million”, Boustead had announced that its subsidiary had accepted a letter of offer from listed Singaporean firm Hotel Royal Limited for the purchase of the hotel.

The letter of offer was however subject to four terms, including a one-month exclusivity period for the purchaser to carry out due diligence and for the conditional sale and purchase agreement to be executed during the same period.

Boustead's subsidiary is also required to refrain from responding to any other offers during the exclusivity period, and the proposed sale would require statutory and regulatory approvals under Malaysian law and the Singapore stock exchange's operator.

On February 27, the defence minister's office issued a statement to explain that the process of selling the hotel had not been finalised.

The office had said evaluation was still being carried out on the strategically-placed hotel which is located in one of Kuala Lumpur's main tourism area, adding that “the best offers from interested buyers is in consideration and priority would be given to local companies”.

The statement came after Najib's February 26 Facebook post, where the latter claimed that the hotel had been sold last week to a Singaporean firm at the price of RM197 million and alleging that this was yet another government asset sold to Singapore.