700,000 acres land grab of forest reserves, nearly 3 times the size of Penang state, is the largest land grab corruption scandal in Malaysian history

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should promptly investigate the explosive expose by caretaker Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal of the largest land grab and corruption scandals in Malaysian history. Shafie revealed that the leader of the previous Sabah state government had awarded 700,000 acres of forest reserve land under Yayasan Sabah or Sabah Foundation(SF) to “friends and family”.

This gargantuan land grab of 700,000 acres of forest reserve land is so large, that it is almost 3 times the size of the state of Penang. Failure by MACC to act would once again demonstrate the double-standards of MACC in favour of pro-PN(Perikatan Nasional) political leaders. In contrast. MACC can act so quickly to call up ordinary Raub “musang king’ durian growers for questioning, just due to pressure from PN component parties.

A case that is still fresh in the public’s mind is MACC’s inaction and inertia against the Deputy Defence Minister, who admitted writing a letter of recommendation for his own son to be appointed into the Board of Director of Pharmaniaga. Defence Minister Ismail Sabri had agreed to his Deputy’s recommendation. Recommending your own son is a wrongdoing under section 23 of the MACC Act, because Pharmaniaga is under the oversight and authority of the Defence Ministry. Unfortunately, no action has been taken by MACC until now.

The latest expose by Shafie of the 700,000 acres of forest reserve land grab is not just about the wrongdoings of corruption, abuse of power and misappropriation of government property for private benefit of oneself or family members. This land grab of forest reserves is also environmentally disastrous to both wildlife, biodiversity and Malaysia’s international commitment to preserve our forest reserves.

Only A Victory For Warisan Plus, Can We Get To The Bottom Of The 700,000 Acres Land Grab Scandal And Prevent More Future Land Grabs.

Both the former Sabah Chief Minister and his brother, who was a former Federal Minister, should come clean to the people of Sabah to uphold transparency and public accountability. Further the Federal government of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should also explain, since the leaders of the previous Sabah government are part of his administration and PN political coalition.

Sabahans can never forget that it was Muhyiddin’s political secretary and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, who both went to see the Sabah Governor on behalf of the former Sabah Chief Minister, to try to form a new back-door government by enticing over Assemblypersons. This attempt by PN and the former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman to form a backdoor Sabah state government failed, because Shafie countered quickly to stop the attempt to steal the people’s mandate, by dissolving the State Assembly.

Shafie had said that the people of Sabah themselves must decide who they want to choose as the new state government, not money politics. That is why Shafie was compelled to call for a Sabah state election on 26 September despite the threat of COVID-19. By willing to put public health at risk, PN is irresponsible and playing destructive politics to try to entrench themselves in power in Sabah and buttress their slim 2-seat parliamentary majority.

It is important for Sabahans to put an end to this destructive money politics, corruption, abuse of power and the latest land grab by dishonest politicians through voting back Shafie and Warisan Plus comprising Warisan, DAP, UPKO, PKR and Amanah. Only a victory for Warisan Plus, can Sabahans get to the bottom of the latest 700,000 acres forest land grab, as well as prevent more of such future land grab of forest reserves.

LIM GUAN ENG

DAP SECRETARY-GENERAL & MP FOR BAGAN
Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 16th September 2020