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No, no, no cover-up, they say!

June 28, 2010
Felda cover-up suspected, gov’t urged to come clean
Aidila Razak
Jun 28, 10
12:16pm Malaysiakini.com
Yet another report, this time by the National Children of Felda Settlers’ Association (Anak), will be lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) with allegedly additional evidence to prove the existence of a cover-up in the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).

NONEHowever, the report will only be made if the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Ahmad Maslan does not provide an explanation for his “dubious answer” in Parliament last week, said Anak president Mazlan Aliman (left).

If lodged, the report will be the second made to the anti-graft body on the matter, the first one being that made by Klang MP Charles Santiago and former federal minister Tan Kwee Kwong last week.

The report was lodged after Ahmad revealed in Parliament that the agency’s reserves had dropped by RM2.7 billion in the past five years.

According to Anak’s Mazlan, among the supporting documents to be handed to MACC will be Felda’s annual report and accounts to prove the discrepancy between the records and the minister’s answer.

“We have reason to believe that he had lied in his answer about Felda, and we can prove this by looking at how much the agency had made in that period, as opposed to how much it had spent,” he said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

Anak will also provide documents to show the allegedly ailing position of Felda’s 43 subsidiaries, in addition to evidence that “the settlers’ incomes were used for political purposes”, he added.

“We will come with all the disgruntled settlers from all over Malaysia to hand over the report to MACC in Putrajaya,” he said.

To date, Anak has lodged three separate police reports in Temerloh, Kota Tinggi and Segamat.

Debate challenge

NONEMazlan added that Ahmad’s defensive stance on the matter, by announcing that Felda will take legal action against those he alleged had spread “lies” and “slander” on the issue, only showed that “he has something to hide”.

“As such I am challenging him to an open debate about Felda issues so we will be able to uncover things that he is trying to hide,” he said.

Mazlan said he is ready for the debate “anytime”.

Ahmad’s answer in Parliament on the issue had led to a flood of criticisms, particularly over the deputy minister’s claim that RM2 billion was spent on a replanting program.

According to his critics, however, the funds should not have been sourced from the land authority’s reserves but from the Replanting Fund, to which the settlers contribute RM4 per acre each month.

They also demanded to know how the RM253 million Ahmad claimed was used for a poverty eradication program in Sabah was spent, and questioned the payment of RM662 million to developer Naza TTDI for the agency’s new building when it has yet to be completed.

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