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Monday, December 31, 2012

RM160mil LTAT fiasco: Come home wherever you are & FACE THE MUSIC, Rafizi tells Najib

RM160mil LTAT fiasco: Come home wherever you are & FACE THE MUSIC, Rafizi tells Najib
UPDATE2 PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli called on Prime Minister Najib Razak to "face the music" and explain why his administration gave the green light to a controversial deal that may see RM160mil wiped out from the Armed Forces pension fund or LTAT.
"As we speak, the crowd is already building around Jalan Raja Chulan ahead of our visit to Wisma Boustead to apply officially to sight the documents," Rafizi told a press conference on Monday.
"This deal has all the hallmarks of one that will leave Bakti Wira impaired in the future. It is time to train the gun at our Prime Minister Najib Razak. No one knows where he is but it seems he is now overseas. But wherever he is, I think it is time he comes home immediately to explain this mess to the Armed Forces because they are concerned about their pension money. It is his moral duty to stop this deal immediately."
Another big loss for Boustead and the ultimately the pensioners
Bakti Wira is 100% owned by public-listed Boustead Holdings Bhd, which in turn is almost 39% held by the LTAT. On Friday, Boustead created a stir when it announced to the stock exchange that Bakti, which already lost RM565,923 in 2011, would enter into deals worth RM160 million for the purpose of buying back 223 hectares of land situated in Bukit Raja, Selangor.
That sparked immediate accusations Boustead was using pension funds to cover up a land deal that had turned awry and which involved Najb's cronies - controversial businessman Deepak Jaikishan and Selangor Umno Women's chief Raja Ropiaah.
Najib, who was then Defense minister, had in 2006 sanctioned the sale of the ministry's land to a firm controlled by Raja Ropiaah who later sold it off to Deepak, a former close friend of Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor. However, the titles were never transferred and the land still officially belongs to the Ministry of Defense.
Already reeking of corruption, the sale exploded into the public domain following a fall-out between Deepak and Raja Ropiaah, whom Deepak accused of trying to "steal" the land and selling it to "other parties". Deepak also accused Najib's family of accepting millions of ringgit in 'commission' to sanction the land sale to Ropiaah.
"This is a grave mistake on the part of Zahid Hamidi (the current Defense minister who approved the Boustead deal). Cleatrly, once you use Boustead, it becomes a matter of public interest and the public has every right to demand to know," said Rafizi, who has previously described the Boustead deal as "outright bribery" to "silence" Deepak and benefit Ropiaah.
"Then, Bakti is already a loss-making company. The Boustead statement says Bakti will use internal funds and external loans to pay the RM160mil. How will Bakti service this loan? It will be another impairment."
Boustead minority shareholders - what say you?
Rafizi pointed out that Bakti was already troubled by its unit Jendela Hikmat Sdn Bhd, which according to Rafizi was the "construction arm" of the LTAT.
"Bakti may be just a holding company but it owns Jendela Hikmat Sdn Bhd and from Jendela, we can trace a record of failures and debacles. This is the construction arm of the LTAT and has been given many large privatization projects by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef). Jendela is now quite 'famous' because of RM230 mil failed project to build the Kem Muara Tuang in Sarawak."
Jendela was criticized in the Auditor-General's 2010 Report for failing to complete the Sarawak project despite being given 3 extensions of time. The firm's explanation was that it faced tight financial conditions while costs of building materials spiralled.
Rafizi also said his PKR party will be writing to the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group to intervene and help to stop the deal.
"What do the minority shareholders of Boustead have to say? Are they going to keep quiet and keep letting Boustead absorb the losses of Jendela and Bakti arising from deals put together by top political leaders to save themselves and to silence their cronies."
Ex-servicemen upset, demand explanation
Meanwhile, the Selangor state government led by PKR Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has announced it would investigate the Boustead proposal in detail and would not hesitate to withhold its approval if transparency checks were not up to mark.
Also at the press conference were representatives of PAHLAWAN, the association of retired and ex-members of the Armed Forces. According to PAHLAWAN chairman Asri Buang and its Adviser, Brig-Gen (B) Abdul Hadi Khatab, the association is worried about the transaction and has held meetings over the weekend.
"We got the news on hursday actually. Of course, we are confused and no one is happy. How can we be not worried. This is a big sum and we want a full explanation from Defense minister Zahid Hamidi and Prime Minister Najib Razak. This involves our pension money and must not be treated lightly," Abdul Hadi told Malaysia Chronicleat the sidelines of the presser.
He confirmed that PAHLAWN and another ex-servicemen association KERABAT would join the protest group seeking to inspect the official documents at Wisma Boustead this afternoon.
"Boustead is a listed company and on its board are representatives, generals from the Army, the Navy and Air Force. What are they all doing? They must look out for us all, the ordinary service men and women and not just please the big shots. Are they all just Pak Turut (yes-men) to nod their head when Zahid tells them the deal is OK?"
Malaysia Chronicle

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