PETALING JAYA (May 8): Umno Youth wants the Finance Ministry and Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) to answer three questions related to the controversial purchase of a plot of land within the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin wanted the ministry, headed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to reveal the price paid by 1MDB for the entire 28.3ha TRX site, and the average price paid by the state investment vehicle for the 0.63ha site that was eventually sold to TH for RM188.5 million.
He also asked if it was true that prior to the TRX site being sold to 1MDB, it was previously earmarked to Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd, a company under Yayasan Amanah Hartanah Bumiputera which is aimed to increase property ownership among Bumiputeras.
"1MDB will receive RM188.5 million from this transaction. What will the money be used for?" he said in a statement today.
Tabung Haji, a savings fund for Muslims planning pilgrimages to Mecca, yesterday confirmed that it had bought a parcel of land from the state investment vehicle for RM188.5 million, which it said was at a "discounted" price to current market value.
It planned to build a residential tower at the site.
"The investment is a commercial decision which fits with Tabung Haji's risk appetite and went through all internal process accordingly," chief executive officer Datuk Johan Abdullah said in a statement.
But opposition lawmaker Zairil Khir Johari said Tabung Haji had paid an "unbelievably exorbitant" price per square feet (psf) for the land, compared with what 1MDB paid for the land at RM64 psf four years ago and that Tabung Haji overpaid the company by at least RM500 psf.
Training his guns on Tabung Haji, Khairy today asked if there was any potential conflict of interest, since Tabung Haji's managing director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail also sits on the 1MDB board.
"Was there any other conflict of interest involving senior Tabung Haji executives in this transaction?" he asked.
He also wanted to know if the "discounted price" from 1MDB was contingent on the basis that Tabung Haji had to pay the entire RM188.5 million sum immediately after the signing of the sales-and-purchase agreement.
"If this is not, when will full payment for the land end? Has Tabung Haji settled the 100% payment for any lands that it had purchased immediately after the agreement was signed?"
Additionally, he demanded to know the basis of assessment made by Tabung Haji's investment panel which approved the purchase, asking if there was any truth to the risk assessment report which considered the investment to be "high risk".
"Is it true that the land transactions at nearby areas were lower than what Tabung Haji paid for this plot?" he added.
Urging that all questions to be answered as soon as possible, Khairy said the questions were aimed at getting a clearer picture on the issue since the matter has caused numerous speculations and raised public anger.
"This issue has become more serious. Umno Youth is worried that institutions like Tabung Haji are being used to rescue 1MDB. Any effort to rescue 1MDB which is detrimental to the people cannot be accepted," he added.