Monday, June 14, 2010

Najib 'destroyed' Felda, says Tan Kee Kwong

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 14:21
By Patrick Lee

PETALING JAYA: In a scathing open letter, the former deputy minister of land and cooperatives Tan Kee Kwong has accused Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak of “destroying” Felda.

Felda or the Federal Land Development Authority is a government agency tasked with handling the resettlement of rural poor into newly developed areas.

In his letter, first sighted on the popular blog “People's Parliament”, Tan said: “I publicly accuse Najib of single-handedly destroying Felda.”

Contacted later, son of the late Tan Chee Koon and the former Gerakan leader and ex-Segambut MP, who is now with PKR, told FMT that the letter was penned after learning of some new information 10 days ago.

According to Tan, Felda's cash reserve was around RM4.5 billion in 2004, but the amount has since declined by RM200 million. He blames Najib's “mismanagement” of the scheme for this.

He also claimed that Najib's real intention to helm Felda was to have access to its huge hoard.

“The sacrifices (in the Felda scheme) have all gone down the drain. Felda was a world-class name many years ago. It's (just) utter rubbish,” he said.

Asked if he had documents to back his claim, Tan expressed confidence in his source and challenged the government to probe the matter.

Felda's 'five-star' office

Meanwhile, Tan also questioned Felda's foray into the real estate market.

According to him, Felda bought a “five-star office” located next to the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

Tan also alleged that Felda officials had paid up to 40 percent of the building costs prior to its construction.

“Even before one piece of construction was laid out, Felda gave RM230 million (to the developers),” he said, adding that the building would cost roughly RM600 million.

“What guarantee do you have that you would finish (constructing) the building?” he asked.

Tan also told FMT that 40 percent was unusually high for a deposit and that 10 percent was a more reasonable amount.

He said that the building was being developed by local construction company Naza TTDI.

The PKR member also challenged Felda's recent decision to raise bonds for the scheme.

“Why raise bonds when it's apparently got so much reserves?” he asked.

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