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Mukhriz joins Umno’s criticism of Tabung Haji-1MDB land deal

KUALA LUMPUR (May 9): Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir (pictured) wants the Finance Ministry to explain the cheap price at which it sold land for the Tun Razak Exchange to debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The son of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad joined other Umno leaders in questioning Lembaga Tabung Haji's RM188.5 million purchase of a plot of land from 1MDB with a tweet from his handle @MukhrizMahathir today.

"Kalau TH sanggup bayar harga begitu tinggi utk tanah kepunyaan 1MDB, apa alasan Kem Kewangan jualnya pd harga begitu murah kpd 1MDB dulu?"  (If Tabung Haji is willing to pay such a high price for 1MDB land, what is the Finance Ministry's reason for selling it cheap to 1MDB previously?)

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is also the Finance Minister and is chairman of 1MDB's advisory board. 

Other members from Umno who have spoken out against the land deal include former deputy minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Malaysia's longest serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also deemed the deal a bailout, saying that the money of Tabung Haji contributors was being used to rescue 1MDB.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had also openly criticised the government's handling of the 1MDB scandal and warned that the issue was so serious that it might explode.

He told reporters following him on a working visit to Milan, Italy, that 1MDB was the biggest factor that led to Barisan Nasional's (BN) loss in the Permatang Pauh by-election on Thurday.

The Umno deputy president admitted that he was not even able to explain the scandal when campaigning because, "I don't even know what to say".

"The rakyat wants to know, not just Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The rakyat wants to know why no one has been charged, why the 1MDB board has not been sacked, and about the position of the CEO and the prime minister as adviser," said Muhyiddin.

He said the situation was toxic and might have a huge adverse impact not just on the people, but Umno as well.

Tabung Haji, a savings fund for Muslims planning pilgrimages to Mecca, said on Thursday it had bought a parcel of land from the state investment vehicle's Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project for RM188.5 million, which it claimed was a "discounted" price.

It planned to build a residential tower at the site.

1MDB had paid RM64 per square feet for the land against the RM2,773 per square feet in the Tabung Haji purchase.

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