KGNS chief denies Syed Mokhtar’s interest in golf club land

Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary

(TMI) — Billionaire Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary is not involved in an attempt to privatise the land currently occupied by Kelab Golf Negara Subang (KGNS), says club president Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas.

This comes after reports that the logistics tycoon’s Perspective Lane holding company had joined with property giant Sunway to submit a proposal to privatise the highly valuable 330 acres of KGNS land which sits strategically in between Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya near here.

Megat Najmuddin, who is also chairman and independent director of Tradewinds Corp, another Syed Mokhtar-linked company, told The Malaysian Insider that he had spoken to two directors of Perspective Lane who denied having submitted a privatisation proposal.

“I checked with the directors of Perspective Lane, both denied it (the report on privatisation),” Megat Najmuddin said when contacted yesterday, adding one of the directors was Syed Mokhtar’s brother.

He said any attempt to privatise the government owned land would result in “political suicide” as the club was established by the country’s first prime minister — Tunku Abdul Rahman — by an Act of Parliament in the 1960s.

“To sell it off, you would have to pass another Act of Parliament,” he said. “You have to respect the law otherwise it becomes a mockery. It is untenable to sell off the land and have the club without the land.”

KGNS, which does not have a formal lease on the land, is currently defending itself against a lawsuit brought against it by the Federal Lands Commissioner seeking to remove the club’s caveat on the land that was lodged in 2004.

Megat Najmuddin said that lawsuit appeared to be moot as the club had allowed the caveat to lapse last year in order to avoid making it look like it was “playing hardball” with the government.

“We are now waiting for the Attorney-General to come back with a date so we can sit down and try to resolve the problem,” he said.

He said although the golf club did not have a formal lease on the land, he maintained that it still had “certain rights” under the law.

“To take the land away would be a disaster,” he said.

The Edge Financial Daily reported yesterday that Perspective Lane and Sunway City had submitted their privatisation proposal late last year.

Ho Hong Sang, managing director of Sunway’s property division, was quoted as saying that they were always looking for opportunities that were available.

Other Sunway executives were quoted as saying that the proposal was at the “exploratory stage.”

KGNS was initiated by Tunku Abdul Rahman as a place where the civil service could mingle with members of the public and is seen as an iconic institution for those who grew up in Petaling Jaya.

It was opened in 1968 has a “month-to-month” informal lease on the land, according to Megat Najmuddin.

When KGNS first moved to the present site, the land was far less valuable as it was in the middle of rubber estates and former tin mining land, and the golf club today with its many matured trees presents a much appreciated piece of greenery in the fast developing Kelana Jaya area.

After the government filed its legal suit last year to regain control, it gave rise to speculation that the golf courses have been earmarked by the government for sale to developers to build high-end properties.