By Zurairi AR
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — A group of army pensioners protested in front of Menara Boustead here today over the federal government’s plan to purchase a plot of land in Bukit Raja, claiming the move was a form of abuse of power.
The group of 15 veterans led by PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli gathered in front of Boustead Holdings Bhd's office in Jalan Raja Chulan holding banners saying “Demi Kroni, Deepak dan Rosmah, LTAT diperalat” (LTAT manipulated for cronies, Deepak and Rosmah) and “Zahid Hamidi gadai masa depan pencarum LTAT” (Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi is selling out the future of LTAT contributors).
This protest came amid the move by Boustead, a unit of government investment fund Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), to buy an 80 per cent stake in businessman Deepak Jaikishan’s company Astacanggih Sdn Bhd for RM30 million as well as a RM130 million piece of land from Awan Megah, the firm of Selangor Wanita Umno chief Senator Datuk Raja Ropiaah Abdullah.
“We want today for Boustead and their staff to cooperate and explain the matter to us contributors. This is the public's money,” said Mohd Nazari Mokhtar, the president of ex-army interest group Sekretariat Kebajikan Rangkaian Bekas Angkatan Tentera (KERABAT).
“Those generals who sit in Boustead's board of directors must speak up and not stay silent,” said Datuk Abd Hadi Khatab, the adviser for another group Pertubuhan Prihatin Bekas Anggota Keselamatan Malaysia (PAHLAWAN).
He was referring to the eight retired army officers who sit on Boustead's board on behalf of LTAT.
The Defence Ministry’s LTAT, through its investment arm Boustead, had last Thursday announced plans to acquire the 200-acre land Awan Megah Sdn Bhd for RM130 million.
On top of the land purchase, the fund will also buy Astacanggih Sdn Bhd for RM30 million, which Rafizi previously described recently as “outright bribery” and a move meant to silence the businessman from spewing more controversial revelations against the government.
The group of pensioners tried to enter Boustead's office on the 28th floor to view the share and land sale agreement documents which are available for public viewing starting today, but were stopped by security and staff members.
Boustead staff alleged that only shareholders of the company are allowed to view the documents, and not LTAT contributors.
In response to that, Rafizi declared that he will buy a unit of Boustead shares himself and return in a few days with a bigger group of army pensioners.
Boustead staff members present refused to comment on the incident.
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