By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham has admitted to being a director in a logging firm awarded land in PAS-led Kelantan but refuted that the project was in exchange for letting the Islamist party take the silver state’s mentri besar post, the New Straits Times (NST) reported today.
Ngeh told the English-language daily that he and another Perak DAP lawmaker, Nga Kor Ming, had invested in the project but stressed that the deal was above board.
“The Inland Revenue Board is aware of this transaction. So is the federal government.
“The federal government even gave out a loan as the project is for the good of the country,” the Beruas MP was quoted as saying by the NST.
Last Thursday, Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen alleged in the state assembly that both Ngeh (picture) and Nga had been awarded a piece of land, said to be worth RM30 million, and linked it to the appointment of PAS’s Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak mentri besar after the 2008 general election.
Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib was reported as saying that Ngeh and Syarikat Efektif Kirana Sdn Bhd had bought 4,000 hectares in Gua Musang, Kelantan for a logging project. The BN assemblyman for Slim claimed that Nga, the Perak DAP secretary, was also involved.
At a press conference yesterday, Ngeh, who is also a lawyer, had explained that the Perak duo had invested in the project upon invitation by their client Upaya Padu Plantations Sdn Bhd.
Yesterday, The Star Online reported Ngeh as saying the original sales and purchase agreement of the land was signed in May 3, 2006, which he said showed that the claims against him and Nga amounted to slander.
“This shows that the transaction between Yayasan Islam Kelantan and Upaya Padu Plantations Sdn Bhd was conducted even before Pakatan Rakyat was in power in 2008.
“Therefore claims that the land was given to us by PAS in exchange for a mentri besar position are slander.
“As a lawyer maintaining my professional ethics, I could only reveal that the group of investors, who were also my clients, only purchased the company this year.
“It is only a personal transaction and a private sector investment into the state,” he was quoted as saying by The Star Online.
Both Ngeh and Nga, who are cousins, are also lawmakers for the Sitiawan and Pantai Remis state seats.
Ngeh was reported as saying he will sue those who have defamed them over this matter.