Land poser: Storm brewing over ‘loss’ of RM250mil plot belonging to Selangor

(The Star) – A controversy is brewing over the “loss” of a RM250mil plot of land belonging to Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB).

The 234ha leasehold land in Gombak was forfeited by the Selangor Government, the majority shareholder of KHSB, but there are shareholders who say they are unaware of it.

The land belonging to SAP Holdings Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of KHSB) was forfeited by the state government in August. The lease was supposed to expire only on June 25, 2090.

It is understood that the shareholders have lodged complaints with Bursa Malaysia.

KHSB was set up in 2001 and listed on Bursa Malay-sia in 2003. It is also the property vehicle of Kum­pulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB), the Selangor Govern­ment’s investment arm, with a paid-up capital of RM450mil.

SAP Holdings Bhd engages in development projects in Selangor and the company, through its subsidiaries, handles project management, construction and management of club and resorts, and property development, according to its website.

KHSB’s chairman is Raja Idris Raja Kamarudin (pic above), a brother of exiled blogger Raja Petra, with Hashim Kamil Harun as its acting chief executive officer.

Raja Idris is also a director of KDEB, which is headed by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

In one complaint, a shareholder claimed that no action had been taken by the directors of SAP and KHSB to settle or negotiate the issue or even commence action in court.

Raja Idris, when contacted, confirmed the forfeiture of the land.

“The reason given by the land office for the forfeiture was because there were illegal quarry activities on it for many years.

“We got the land over 20 years ago. We had little control of what was going on because we had a joint-venture partner which was looking at developing the land,” he said.

He maintained that shareholders (via annual report) and Bursa Malaysia were kept informed of the developments.

Raja Idris said KHSB had taken the partners to court, which had ruled in their (KHSB) favour last September.

Said a shareholder: “The Selangor Government may be the majority shareholder but the rights and interests of the minority shareholders should not be ignored.”

Raja Idris said the next AGM was scheduled in June.

The piece of land has been mired in controversy with SAP then defending two legal suits by Cergas Tegas Sdn Bhd (CTSB), alleging unlawful termination by SAP in a joint venture.

CTSB had sought damages to be assessed and the purported loss of about RM350mil but SAP filed a counter-claim of RM399mil against CTSB.

The High Court dismissed the suits by CTSB with costs and SAP was declared the legal and beneficial owner of the land with CTSB ordered to deliver vacant possession of the land. This was announced to Bursa on Aug 10 last year.

However, CTSB was also suing Star Everest Sdn Bhd alongside SAP in that suit.

Last November, KHSB told Bursa that Star Everest had filed a suit in the Kuala Lumpur High Court against SAP claiming breach of the development agreement and several other matters in relation to the land.

The forfeiture of the land by the state government caught shareholders by surprise. They questioned why SAP or KHSB “did not defend the land”.

“We have appealed to the state to get the land back but they have rejected our request. We see this as a loss of opportunity for us but it was not on our balance sheets,” Raja Idris said.

The shareholders now want the state government to explain whether the forfeiture was minuted and if there was other material information not disclosed.