MUAR, March 6 — Minister of International Trade and Industries Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has challenged Datuk Seri Najib Razak to a debate on Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).

Azmin issued the challenge to Najib during a Perikatan Nasional held ceramah at Sungai Balang here last night.

“The issue here is that Felda was destroyed during his (Najib) administration. There are facts which clearly show the purchase of real estate overseas which is currently under investigation by the authorities.

“The White Paper has proven that the betrayal against Felda settlers is too obvious and Najib cannot thump his chests by claiming it was Umno who saved Felda since it was under his leadership that the future of Felda settlers was crushed,” he told reporters here.

Azmin said the mismanagement of Felda under Najib must be revealed and informed to settlers to allow the opportunity for Perikatan Nasional to continue upholding the agency and their future.

Asked on how the debate would be organised, Azmin said he was open to any medium including it being done virtually before the conclusion of the Johor state election this coming Saturday.

Azmin, who was the former economic affairs minister under the Pakatan Harapan government, had previously tabled the White Paper in the Dewan Rakyat back in April 2019.

The White Paper revealed that Felda Global Ventures spent RM3.3 billion (73 per cent) of the RM4.5 billion on investments and developments which were not profitable, such as the takeover of several companies with the agency incurring tremendous debt and losses after being publicly listed in 2012 under Najib’s Barisan Nasional administration.

Early voting for the Johor election is on Tuesday while polling day is on March 12.