According to Bernama yesterday, the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak pointed out that Lembaga Tabung Haji’s (LTH) plan to turn over the land it bought from 1MDB to the private sector was a sound commercial decision as it would see the fund earn a few million ringgit overnight.
The Prime Minister, who is also the Finance Minister must be joking. If it is so easy for LTH to “earn a few million ringgit”, then why did 1MDB, who is so desperate for funds, not sell it to those parties who are allegedly willing to purchase it for more money than what LTH was willing to pay?
Instead, LTH is forced to pay cash upfront for the land and undertake the entire risk of holding the land on behalf of 1MDB to look for a buyer. Why couldn’t 1MDB have found the alleged willing-buyers who were not only so readily available, they are allegedly willing to pay RM5 million more than what LTH has paid?
There’s absolutely no credibility in the claims by the Chairman of LTH, Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim that the land would be sold in a week. He even committed that the land will be sold to a buyer at a profit of at least RM5 million and will be concluded within the next few weeks.
Hence we call upon Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to lead by example and immediately advise his own stepson, Riza Aziz to dispose of his luxury properties in the United States and purchase the above land from LTH.
It was reported in January this year by the New York Times, that Riza Aziz has purchased his New York Park Laurel luxury condominium and Los Angeles Beverly Hills bungalow for US$33.5 million (RM121 mil) and US$17.5 million (RM63.2 mil) respectively. What was more amazing was that these properties worth US$51 million (RM184 mil) were acquired in cash from none other than Jho Low!
We now know of course, one of the reasons why 1MDB is in such dire straits with RM42 billion of debt was because Jho Low’s companies siphoned billions of ringgit from 1MDB. And now, 1MDB is forced to dispose of all its assets which it acquired on the cheap from the Government to raise funds to service its debts. In this case, 1MDB sold the 1.56 acre of land to LTH for RM2,773 per square feet (psf) despite acquiring the land for less than RM64 psf.
Under such circumstances, since the Prime Minister believes that paying more than RM2,773 psf for the piece of land is still such a good deal, he should immediately advise Riza Aziz to dispose of his RM184 million of properties in the United States and bring back the cash to buy this piece of land from LTH.
If Dato’ Seri Najib insists that Malaysians have to bailout 1MDB for its monstrous financial problems, then it is only right that he set the example by asking his family members of unexplained immense wealth to repatriate their money to bailout 1MDB first.