Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Putrajaya forms committee to look into ‘reward’ for Najib

The government says the proposal to grant land to the former prime minister is not final.

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Putrajaya will form a special committee to look into a proposal that Najib Razak be gifted a land and a house, following a storm created by revelations that the free property is worth RM100 million.

“The committee’s role will be to review the proposed guidelines for the fulfilment of the request, including rates, conditions and maximum limits or quantum, for the provision of land and residential houses, under the Former Prime Minister’s Remuneration Schedule, for future implementation,” law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said.

In the government’s first official reaction to public outrage over the move to reward the convicted former leader, Wan Junaidi confirmed that Najib had settled for one of three pieces of land.

“In principle, the Cabinet had agreed to grant the former prime minister his request on the grounds of his right under the law.

“However, I must stress that this decision is not final and is subject to further deliberation and final approval by the government,” he added.

The statement comes hours after Najib announced that he was withdrawing the request, following an uproar over the details of the house-gift first reported by MalaysiaNow.

Yesterday, Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir Mohamad questioned the government for agreeing to the deal as reported, reminding it that Najib had been convicted of corruption last year.

On Nov 12, MalaysiaNow reported that Najib had made the request by invoking the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act, which allows several housing allowance options as a token of appreciation for former prime ministers.

It was also revealed that Najib’s choice was the most expensive from a list of housing allowances offered to him by the government.

The offer includes a piece of land measuring some 120,000 sq ft with a market value of close to RM70 million, on which a house would be built by the government at a total cost of RM100 million including the land value.

Najib in his defence said he had no knowledge of the land value, and even claimed that the issue was brought up to coincide with the election in Melaka where he has been actively campaigning for Umno candidates.

It is understood that Najib first made the request two years ago, and early this year submitted a formal application for the vacant land in Bukit Petaling, Kuala Lumpur to be given to him with compliments from the government.

A source said that while the application was endorsed by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, it was met with protests from several ministers, including Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Mohamed Azmin Ali, Khairy Jamaluddin and Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, all of whom are key leaders in parties that make up the current government.

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