KUCHING, Aug 1 — Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan today denied an allegation that he was involved in a conspiracy to defraud a RM285 million court judgment, as reported by whistleblower site Sarawak Report (SR).
He said he is reserving his legal rights against SR and demanding its editor to withdraw the allegations against him and publish an unqualified apology in terms to be approved by him, as soon as possible.
He said SR in an article published on July 27 made a false and defamatory allegations against him being involved in the conspiracy.
“The allegations about me are completely baseless and highly defamatory. I must say at the onset that there is no wrongdoing by me or any of the government officials.
“We are all discharging our public duties to serve the interests of the state,” he said in a press statement.
He said he is not aware of what court judgment of RM285 million SR was referring to and the “successful litigant” was strangely not even named.
“It was claimed the ‘successful litigant’ was the complainant. The identity of the complainant should be disclosed by SR so that the public can know who he is,” he said.
“From what is written in the offending article, it appears that SR was referring to the land known as Lot 63 Sawai land District, the document of title of which was issued to Tanjung Tiara Sdn Bhd on March 28, 1994 after its chairman, a West Malaysian Member of Parliament, applied for it.
“The title for the land carried a special condition that all the plantable area shall be planted within 10 years of registration of title, that means by March, 2004,” Awang Tengah added.
He said based on official records, Tanjung Tiara submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report to the Natural Resources and Environment Board, stating that 90.6 per cent of the land was plantable.
“By the year 2010, based on inspection and verification by Land and Survey Department less than 60 per cent of the plantable land was actually planted,” he said.
Awang Tengah noted the Miri High Court had also issued a winding up order against Tanjung Tiara.
“It is obvious by that time Tanjung Tiara, an insolvent company, could not fulfill the title condition to develop all the plantable area, which according to the EIA Report submitted by their Consultant 90.6 per cent of the area from the size of the land which is 4,856 hectares, was plantable,” he added.
He said on these facts, an administrative notice to remedy the default was issued by the Land and Survey Department to the Liquidators of Tanjung Tiara in 2012 to fully develop the whole plantable area.
He explained the liquidators failed to comply with that administrative notice so a Notice of Re-entry was served on Tanjung Tiara under section 33A of the Land Code.
According to the Land Registry records, he said the land is still registered in the name of Tanjung Tiara Sendirian Berhad but subject to the following encumbrances, namely, a charge in favour of Ha Tiung Nuing and Chan Yitt Fong by virtue of a court Order.
He said the possession of the land be given by Tanjung Tiara to another company, Osun Timber Sdn Bhd, pursuant to a court order on November 18, 2016.
“Therefore, the state government and its officials have not defrauded Tanjung Tiara of this land,” he stressed.
“The dispute as to whether Tanjung Tiara has fully developed all the plantable area of 90.6 per cent of the land is a subject matter in an action before the High Court in Kuching, filed by the Liquidators in the name of Tanjung Tiara Sdn Bhd against the government, some state ministers and officials of the Land and Survey Department.
“This case is pending decision of the High Court on some preliminary issues of law. I shall not comment on the issues and dispute before the High Court as these are sub judice,” he added.
However, he said he will leave it to the High Court to make its decision on the dispute brought to the court by the liquidators, and if there was any wrong-doing by either Tanjung Tiara or the Defendants.
Awang Tengah said he will also leave it to the court to determine whether the publication of the article by SR constitutes contempt of court.