Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) has alleged that former Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan and Istana Negara were named by a Taiwan-controlled company in the latter’s bid to purchase SDP land in Malacca below market price.
The Edge reported today that this was stated in a judicial review application filed by the SDP at the High Court in Malacca yesterday, which the financial daily had sighted.
In the application, SDP is filing to stop GI A Resources Sdn Bhd from purchasing its 75ha land in Merlimau, in Malacca, via compulsory acquisition, for a below market value price of RM35.282 million.
GI A Resources is reportedly 70 percent-owned by Xinzhongwei Capital Holdings Sdn Bhd, which is in turn majority controlled by Taiwan, while the SDP is majority-owned by Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Permodalan Nasional Bhd.
The Malacca government, the state land and mines department, and the Jasin District Land Office were also reportedly named as respondents in the application.
In an affidavit by SDP land management unit head Mohd Razlan Mohd Rahim in support of the judicial review application, it is claimed that GI A Resources had purported to represent Sultan Muhammad interests.
Among SDP’s other supporting claims were that the company, GI A Resources, provided a letter dated Dec 12, 2018, claiming that the deal was discussed at a meeting and the ruler had wanted the land in question; and that it furnished a support letter purportedly bearing the Istana Negara’s letterhead that was signed by the Royal Comptroller Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja, dated April 4, 2018, to the Malacca government.
Razlan was reported to have said that should the letters prove to be authentic, these acts would constitute a violation of Article 74 of the Federal Constitution, as Istana Negara, a federal institution, has been used to interfere in state affairs.
He added that the Jasin District Land Office’s move to issue a letter dated March 19 this year to acquire the land is ultra vires as the palace cannot instruct the state government to act against the public interest.
According to The Edge, SDP claimed it decided to file the application after repeated written appeals against the compulsory acquisition of its land to Malacca Chief Minister Adly Zahari - on Oct 29, Nov 13, and March 25, this year - went unanswered.
“Besides quashing the compulsory acquisition, which was gazetted by the state government last September, SDP is also seeking damages to be assessed by the court and a declaration, among others, that the Land Acquisition Act 1960 cannot be abused to acquire SDP’s land to benefit GI A Resources,” according to The Edge.