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9th April 2018
Former International Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz (RA) had on 8th April 2018 wrote an open letter to PM Najib concerning the privatization of all land belonging to Mindef/Armed Forces, totaling more than 40,000 hectares throughout the country.
According to RA, in late 2008, Najib who was then the Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, presented a cabinet paper to get cabinet approval for the following:
1. Proposal for Najib to privatize all of the more than 40,000 hectares of Mindef/military land throughout Malaysia.
2. Proposal that the privatization be directly awarded to a company owned by three individuals, two men and a woman.
3. Proposal that the lease was to be for 40 years.
In the expose, RA also made the following allegations:
1. That Najib did not propose any open tender, nor were there requests for quotations from other parties.
2. During the cabinet meeting, RA was the only one who spoke up and queried why Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) was not chosen for the proposed privatization, and Najib’s reply was that LTAT was to be brought in later.
3. The proposal by Najib was approved.
In the light of such expose and allegations, it is safe to say that the 300,000 veterans, the 1.5 hundred thousands of current serving military personnel, and the Malaysian public in general, are shocked beyond words. Many questions come to mind, especially in connection with the current disgraceful closure of the Sg Besi Air Force base, and the relocation of long established military camps of valuable commercial value to remote regions throughout the country.
Privatization and monetisation of valuable and strategic pieces of land owned by the military is a very serious matter. It cannot and must not be decided by one cabinet minister, without being debated in parliament and unknown to the public. Above all, the views of every men and women of the Armed Forces of Malaysia which are crucially important were not sought at all. Veterans who had served and operated in those camps attach much sentimental value too, and should also have their voice heard.
In view of the seriousness of the issue, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot) demands immediate answers from our caretaker Prime Minister Najib to the following questions:
1. What happened to the proposal during these 10 years, from 2008 until now in 2018?
2. Was all the said more than 40,000 hectares of Mindef/Armed Forces land privatized?
3. And if so privatized, to which company and who are the owners of the company?
All the land belonging to Mindef and the Armed Forces are located at strategic locations throughout the country. Besides the commercial value, any relocation of the military bases will have serious strategic, security, and defence implications. Additionally, relocation to remote regions would cause much discomfort to the uniform men and women and their families.
Patriot is awaiting answers to our questions.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
President, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan