13th May 2019
PATRIOT URGES SWIFT ACTION AGAINST CULPRITS OF MINDEF LAND SWAP DEALS
Patriot finds it appalling for former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s challenge to Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and his deputy Liew Chin Tong to state if he personally benefitted from the Mindef land swap deals. Hishammuddin threw the challenge after the defence minister tabled the report at Dewan Negara, prepared by the Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigating Committee headed by former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.
It was reported that the investigating committee discovered losses and leakages through 16 land-swap projects involving 1,186 hectres of military land, and a loss of more than RM 500 million. It was also reported that 13 of the 16 land-swap deals involved the former defence minister and former prime minister.
The implementation of the land swap deals was not planned thoroughly and no proper due diligence was conducted when appointing developers, resulting in uncompleted projects, completed projects of unsatisfactory quality, and projects not even started. There was also “outrages interference for political interest” and in choosing the land swap locations specifically to help BN politicians win votes, as was widely reported regarding the four camps – Hutan Melintang in Perak, Segamat and Paloh in Johor, and Bera in Pahang. It is a crying shame that some of the camps had to be closed down after the general election.
Whether Hishammuddin directly benefitted from the notorious deals is up to the investigations of MACC and the police. Patriot urges investigations be conducted swiftly bringing to book all previous defence ministers who served from 1997 to May 2018 if there are grounds for suspicion. Action be taken against those officials who failed to ensure that the land swap deals be conducted in accordance to SOPs. For projects that have not started, and even those ongoing, renegotiation is needed, like what the finance ministry has successfully done.
Hishammuddin has to take responsibility for the land swap fiasco that happened during his tenure as the defence minister, whether he personally benefitted or not. It is a big shame that he knows no shame.
His advising of Mohamad Sabu and LIew Chin Tong, “If they live in glass houses, don’t throw stone”, is a laughable attempt to deflect guilt to the current defence minister and his deputy, and akin to putting veil over one’s guilt. Like one in a similar flock, the trait could be observed in the behaviour of his former boss who shamefully proclaimed “Malu apa, Bossku”.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
President, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan