THE Defence Ministry (Mindef) today lodged another 14 reports over dubious land-swap deals approved under the Barisan Nasional regime.
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu’s special officer, Mohd Nasaie Ismail, lodged the reports at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya, Bernama reports in a tweet.
This follows Mindef’s revelation of a special audit report into 16 land swap deals that included building military bases in certain parliamentary constituencies.
The move is seen as a bid to shore up support for BN in the 14th general election last year by the relocation of thousands of servicemen and their families. Military personnel traditionally vote for BN.
The special audit report is being uploaded in stages to the Mindef website. Mohamad tabled it in the Dewan Negara last Thursday, highlighting that the swaps were “contractor-driven” and in some cases not strategic to Mindef’s interests at all.
In February, Mohamad revealed that the government lost RM500 million from the land swaps.
The audit was conducted by former auditor-general Ambrin Buang, who was appointed by Pakatan Harapan to look into dubious deals approved by the previous administration, beginning with Mindef.
Under the land-swap system, Putrajaya privatises government land in exchange for the construction of government facilities.
The four camps that were built to move military voters were in Bera, Segamat, Paloh and Hutan Melintang.
The audit found that the land swaps were motivated by politics and business interests which led to losses for Mindef when project completion was delayed and when land valuation figures changed.
Nasaie today said the 16 land swap projects involved 2.9 acres of federal land worth RM4.7 billion.
The development projects were worth RM4.8 billion but as of last December, only five had been completed, while two were still in progress. Nine had failed to be completed or were still awaiting final approvals.
Of the 16, only two were part of the ministry’s development plan while the rest were deemed unnecessary, and driven by political and business interests.
The two that are part of the ministry’s plan are the National Defence Training Centre (Puspahanas) in Putrajaya that is not fully completed, and facilities for the RMAF 323 Squadron at Bukit Banang in Johor.
“Our worry is that the government is not only faced with losses but the strategic defences of our country are jeopardised because of failures and delays of projects that are necessary,” said Nasaie.
Delays were caused when the projects were awarded to companies that were inexperienced and with track records of failing to complete past government projects.
Even companies that failed the minimum requirement of having finances of at least 10% of the project cost, were awarded contracts, with one company not even having 1% in financing of the value of the project it was awarded, said Nasaie.
“This has resulted in delays with some projects for up to 11 years. To ensure such corruption never happens again under the new government, we decided to lodge reports with the MACC.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT