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22nd February 2019

Over the last two days what was uncovered and reported by the Ministry of Defence was concerning the impropriety of the 16 cases of Mindef land swap and the case of four military camps that were used to secure votes for BN politicians. There are more to be uncovered.

Patriot had previously raised question on the illegality of transferring voters to uncompleted military camps, such as Hutan Melintang, Segamat, Paloh and Bera. These camps were constructed not based on needs but to help secure votes for the BN politicians. It is a pity that top brass of the military then did not have the gumption to put their feet down against their political masters. It is a sad reflection of the overall decadence and politics of patronism that has engulfed our nation for decades. It is also a reflection of declining military leadership values that Patriot often mentions.

Patriot believes the 16 land swap cases are only the tip of the iceberg. As mentioned previously, there are more than 40,000 hectares of military land involved. Mindef must make a definite statement whether all the land has been privatised as alleged. 

The 16 cases of land swap just revealed involved lopsided contracts or contracts implemented without proper due diligence. These are not included in the 350 cases mentioned by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas on 20 September 2018 concerning lopsided contracts favouring counterparties drawn by the previous BN government. According to the A-G, those 350 cases involved highways, services, private financed build-lease-maintain-transfer, ports, and procurement.

Mindef must also state clearly if the 16 land swap cases were conducted through a privatised company as alleged previously and if cronies were acting as middleman. 

The suspected modus operandi in the land swap would be for the crony company acting as middleman to undergo revaluation of the prime military land. The difference in the high-value military land and the new low-value acquired land in the remote areas in the land swap deals would ensure huge profits for the cronies. Part of the profits would end up with 1MDB. Incidentally in early 2018 the then CEO of 1MDB was bragging about debt rationalization. The military land swap deals could be part of the debt rationalization programme. 

Patriots are members who have served the king and country with honour and pride. It pains us to see the military institution put into a situation of shameful disrepute. For those responsible, heads must roll.

BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
President, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan