Business

Shahrir answers hard questions on Felda land issue

Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad

KUALA LUMPUR – January 17, 2018: Felda has been in the news ever since it was reported last month that it had lost some prime land on Jalan Semarak.

This caused considerable negative comments and speculations among public, especially in social media. 

However, on Monday it was announced that Felda had regained ownership of the land.

Hours before the announcement, Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad, in an exclusive interview with The Mole, addressed some of the questions which caused the negative public perception.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s statement on inaccurate reports that Felda had lost the land: 

Shahrir pointed out that a registrar’s caveat was placed on the land a few days before Najib had issued his statement, which is why Najib in his statement said that reports claiming the land had been lost were inaccurate.

“The land was already transferred to another party, which means Felda had already lost ownership of the land before the caveat was placed,” said Shahrir.

That the KL Vertical City (KLVC) project and dubious land transfer are two separate issues:

According to Shahrir, the land transfer and KLVC are two separate matters and that the developer, Synergy Promenade Sdn. Bhd. (SPSB), does not need the land to proceed with the development.

“I just want the land. We have never discussed stopping the project. The project is the project, the land is the land. I’m not questioning the development agreement.

“Why does the developer need to transfer the land to itself? Without the land being transferred, they (SPSB) had already got the development order,” said Shahrir.

Why is Shahrir not interested in the project?

“I’m not interested because I cannot do anything with it… the development agreement had been signed and the development order had been issued.”

But despite his lack of interest in the project as reported, he cannot do anything about it and that the development agreement between Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) and SPSB is legitimate.

Why does Synergy Promenade Sdn. Bhd. need the land?

“You’ll have to ask SPSB that question, I just want the land back. The land need not be transferred so that there is protection to Felda if anything were to happen to the project or the developer.”

Revocation of the Power of Attorney (PA) granted to SPSB:

Felda wants to revoke the existing full power of attorney granted to SPSB and replace it with a limited PA but this will not hinder the project.

Why is Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) quiet?

“Because FIC is party to the development agreement, not owner of the land and the issuance of the PA was by Felda not FIC, ” adding that “FIC was equally in the dark about the land transfer.”

Why was it the Felda board did not know of the project?

It was reported that Felda board members did not know of the development agreement that was made between FIC and SPSB in June 2014 until three months later. Then there were reports saying some of the board members in FIC were also on the board of Felda.

On this Shahrir said although some board members of the two were the same people that does not mean the Felda board automatically knew about the development agreement.

What Shahrir thinks of the negative perception by the people:

“The backlash will natural happen, people are unhappy but that does not mean they disagree with the action that we took. It just means that they are unhappy with the situation.”

Does Felda have a contingency plan, an alternative developer?

“We have not come to that yet but when we come to that point we would certainly have to consider. We make the decision when it has come to that point.”

Attached below is a 14 minutes long edited video of the full one-hour interview showing Shahrir addressing those questions published earlier by The Mole on the day of the interview.

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Zaidi Azmi and Ahirul Ahirudin

Zaidi Azmi and Ahirul Ahirudin