Dr M promises legal action over Defence Ministry land swap scandal

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during the launch of the ‘myPortfolio Public Sector Work Guidance' in Putrajaya May 14, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during the launch of the ‘myPortfolio Public Sector Work Guidance' in Putrajaya May 14, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, May 14 ― Legal action will be taken against any civil servant or former Cabinet member incriminated in the ongoing investigation into several plots of land involving the Defence Ministry, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The prime minister said his government will go all out in its bid to stamp out corruption, and act even if those involved have retired.

“Yes, the government can still take action and it is our intention to make the report on wrongdoings done in the past, whether or not the wrongdoer is here or not. Legal action will be taken,” he told a news conference here.

The 93-year-old prime minister for a second time said the police will investigate past prime ministers too, and included himself as part of the group.

“No one is above the law,” he added.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu recently disclosed political interference in land deals within his ministry dating back to 1997, when Dr Mahathir was first prime minister under the Barisan Nasional coalition.

But Mohamad also told the Dewan Negara that Dr Mahathir was not involved in 13 out of 16 land swap deals that had been politically tampered with.

Out of the 16, 12 of the contracts were undervalued and some were given to unqualified developers.

Mohamad also noted that 12 land deals were awarded via direct negotiation.

Only five out of 16 projects were completed, while four projects had been approved in principle by the Cabinet.

Three land deals are yet to be inked whereas the agreement for one project had been signed.

One has failed while two are under construction.