14 December 2018

During the last term of the Umno government there was rampant corruption in Malaysia. Biggest culprit was the prime minister himself who allegedly filled his pockets with more than $1million from the government funds. As he was corrupt, he was not in a position to check his supporters from plundering the government. Prime minister Mahathir Mohamed’s special advisor Daim Zainuddin said there were many mini 1MDBs at federal and state level throughout Malaysia.

Former Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad faces a number of charges including criminal breach of trust (CBT) over the purchase of a hotel in Sarawak by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC). In 2014, FIC bought the 213-room Merdeka Palace Hotel for RM160 million when it had been valued at RM110 million. The purchase was made without the approval of the board. Felda had also invested in other dubious properties that resulted in losses of more than RM100 million to the agency. Malay Mail reported.

He was also charged with receiving RM 3 million from Gagasan Abadi Properties director Ikhwan Zaidel. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s political secretary Muhammad Zahid Md Arip was named as the middleman who allegedly facilitated this bribe.

Isa had a longstanding career in politics. He served as a Barisan Nasional member of parliament for decades. On 1 January 2011, he became Felda chairman. He was replaced by Tan Sri Shahrir Samad in January last year when his term ended. He remained as chairman of Felda Global Ventures Holdings until June 2017. After that was appointed as the Land Public Transport Commission chairman. He left the post in May after Pakatan Harapan won the general election.

Mohd Isa was previously remanded by MACC in August 2017 relating to the purchase of Park City Hotel, London by FIC. Formerly He was vice president of Umno. Straits Times reported.

Felda was founded to handle the resettlement of rural poor into newly developed areas and to organise smallholder farms growing cash crops. Since the 1990s, it has not established new settlements, but has engaged in a diversified range of economic development and business activities.

FGV Holdings Berhad, a subsidiary of Felda is considered to be the world’s largest plantation operator, with 811,140 hectares (2,004,400 acres) of oil palms.

Felda failed to achieve its original purpose but has become a loss making project due to rampant corruption in the organisation at all levels.