By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 ― PKR’s Rafizi Ramli today called Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan’s bluff over the Negri Sembilan mentri besar’s defence of the state’s fast depleting forest reserves, revealing documents showing that the state government had granted a massive 1,014ha site to a firm owned by a prominent MCA leader in 2004.
The PKR strategy director told a press conference here that Mohamad had “only told half the story” when the latter claimed that forest reserve land has never been transferred to private firms for any purpose.
He distributed a leaked document from the office of the Negri Sembilan State Secretary dated March 4, 2004, which revealed that the state executive council meeting on March 3 had agreed to transfer the land to a firm called Asli-YNS Sdn Bhd.
“The application was made by Yayasan Negeri Sembilan (YNS) for a 1,014ha plot of land at Mukim Serting Ulu, in Jempol, for a rubber estate,” Rafizi said.
“So what Mohamad Hassan did was he only told half the story. He claimed that it is state policy that any reserve that is degazetted must be given to the YNS... but what he did not do was to tell us what happens after that,” he added.
Rafizi said a search with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) showed that Asli-YNS Sdn Bhd lists Negri Sembilan MCA chairman Senator Datuk Dr Yeow Chai Thiam as its owner.
Citing the search results, the PKR leader said Yeow was the largest shareholder in the firm despite holding only five shares.
“The firm only has a share capital worth RM10... I would love be anyone who has an RM5 share capital but yet can get a land plot of up to 1,014 ha,” he said.
Rafizi said he was confident that his findings were proof of mismanagement and possible corruption in the handling of the state’s forest reserve land.
He urged Mohamad to provide an immediate reply, adding that he hoped the leader would “panic a bit”, warning that he was in possession off more information that could be traced to other Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders in the state.
In a previous press conference on the matter, Rafizi had cited a note in the Auditor-General’s Report 2011 that showed that Negri Sembilan had de-gazetted 8,616 ha of forest reserve land between 2005 and 2010.
He pointed out that this was tantamount to 5.3 per cent of the state’s overall forest reserve areas.
He alleged that the BN-led state government had been awarding lucrative logging concessionaires to crony firms, causing the state’s forest reserves to deplete quickly.