Kuala Lumpur, Dec 29 – PKR said it will lobby the Selangor government to block the Defence Ministry’s Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera’s (LTAT) purchase of a piece of land related to the controversy between businessperson Deepak Jaikishan and Selangor Umno Wanita chief Raja Ropiaah Abdullah.
This is because the land is located in Selangor and requires the state government’s approval for the sale to proceed.
PKR director of strategy Rafizi Ramli (pic) described the deal – to buy a 80 percent stake in Deepak’s company Astacanggih Sdn Bhd for RM30 million and a 200-acre plot of land from Raja Ropiaah’s Awan Megah (M) Sdn Bhd for RM130 million – as “worse than a bailout” as it was an attempt to pay off all parties and silence them.
“The only welfare that is taken care of in this deal is the Selangor Umno Wanita leader (Raja Ropiaah), Deepak and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
“For us, to take this RM160 million, I wouldn’t even call it a bailout, this is outright bribery to pay and silence them,” he told a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya this morning.
LTAT’s investment vehicle Boustead Holding Sdn Bhd had announced that it will, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Bakti Wira Development Sdn Bhd, make the purchase.
Rafizi said: “Previously PKR has been reluctant to get involved because we were worried this could be a set up, and we deemed this as Deepak’s personal affairs.
“However, PKR is stepping in because it now involves RM160 million of public money. This money is coming from the military men’s pension funds.”
Rafizi accused Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi of abusing his power by instructing LTAT to fork out RM160 million to resolve this scandal.
“We have already lost RM250 million on cows because of a minister, we don’t want to lose another RM160 million of pensioner’s money because of another minister,” he said in reference to the National Feedlot Corporation scandal.
He said since the land is in Selangor, the land cannot be transacted without the state government approval but conceded that it has no power in stopping the purchase of shares in Astacanggih.
“For the RM30 million that will be used to buy shares in Astacanggih, it is maybe as good as gone, but we will do everything we can to save the remaining RM130 million,” he said.
‘No commercial sense’
Under an initial deal, Awan Megah (M) Sdn Bhd had reportedly agreed to surrender a land parcel of 200 acres of out 223 acres that it received from the government as payment for the construction of the National Defence Research Centre (Puspahanas) to Deepak’s company in exchange for a land bond and cash.
Deepak who claimed he made substantial financial contributions to the Najib’s family for endorsement of this deal, did not receive the land after holding up his end of the bargain, thus began launching a series of damaging attacks against Najib, demanding that premier intervene.
However, Rafizi said a search found the title of the said land has yet to be transferred to Awan Megah (M) Sdn Bhd and is still with the government, the same plot land now being purchased by the Defence Ministry’s LTAT.
“So technically the Defence Ministry is paying RM130 million for a land that does not exist because it still does not belong to Awan Megah, the land title is with the government,” he said.
Aside from this, Rafizi said there were several indications that the latest deal was a political one and made no commercial sense.
Rafizi said the unusual deal has also lent credibility and veracity to Deepak’s allegations.
“It is obvious now that our assumption (doubts about Deepak’s allegations) was inaccurate. Deepak’s accusations are being viewed seriously and proven to have made Najib panic that he would have Zahid resolve the matter for him,” he added.
As such, Rafizi said PKR will next week also begin making public evidence concerning Deepak’s allegations against Najib.
Yesterday, Deepak admitted he had gone through with this latest deal that would cut his losses but claimed he was forced into it.
Bitter about not getting the land and the RM130 million that his rival’s company would receive from it, he Deepak vowed to continue his expose of the premier.