Kuala Lumpur—Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad has said that action will be taken against former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who leaked a Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) White Paper, thus breaking an embargo from Parliament.
Dr Mahathir said further that the sanction against Mr Najib is to show him that he is not above the rules of Parliament.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference on April 10, Wednesday, the Prime Minister pointed out that he is taking Mr Najib’s transgression gravely.
“This is serious because he isn’t a novice elected representative, but a former prime minister. He has published a paper that was embargoed. We view this seriously and we will take action so he will be reminded that no one is above Parliamentary rules.”
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, April 9, Mr Najib shone light on a purchase agreement Felda had signed to buy a 37% stake in Eagle High Plantations Tbk (EHP) from Indonesian businessman Tan Sri Peter Sondakh’s PTRajawali Capital International. The embargo on the white paper was only lifted at 11.30am on Wednesday (April 10).
In a post on social media, he defended the share purchase but criticised the Malaysian government for claiming that he had cheated Felda to buy equity interest in EHP.
Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali has also called for stern action against Mr Najib. He said, “How can a former prime minister commit such an offence? How can he publish a document yesterday evening, when it had been embargoed till this morning?
So, early this morning, I have already brought forward a motion for stern action to be taken against Pekan. It is a big offence although it may be small to him.”
As of Thursday afternoon, April 11, the former Prime Minister now faces a three-month ban from Parliament because of the Felda leak, which puts him in breach of Clause 95(A) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.
According to Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith, this sort of breach is very serious for those in government, but such a leak from someone outside the government would not be under its purview.
Here is Mr Najib’s April 9 Facebook post in full,
“This morning, FELDA under the PH government has lodged a police report against me.
PH accused me of cheating FELDA to buy interest in the Eagle High Plantations company, causing them to suffer losses.
I’m expecting PH to use this issue to attack me.
In early February, I want the PH government to disclose the “Put Option” for this purchase agreement but they remain silent.
The purchase comes with a put option that allows us to resell the 37% equity interest at the original purchase price together with an annual interest charge of 6% borne by the Indonesian seller.
In other words, if we do not want to continue the investment, we can reclaim all the money we pay together with the 6% interest every year.
The money we paid earlier was also borrowed by bonds with an interest rate of 3.85%.
This means, if the company is successful and the price of oil is recovering, this investment will gain more.
On the other hand, the government will still profit if we sell back because the benefits we charge them are higher than our debt costs.
So, the people’s money is PRESERVED and we will not lose – as well as prove that what PH says that FELDA will lose by buying Eagle High is another slander.
It’s been deceiving people by playing propaganda to attack me.
Just expose the purchase agreement.
And admit that the main reason FELDA has suffered huge losses now is that palm prices fall below the cost of production after the GE14.”/ TISG