Umno is ‘rakyat’, not wrong to acquire public land, says Kuang rep

Zurairi AR, The Malaysian Insider

A Selangor assemblyman denied today that Umno had abused its political ties to grab state land meant for the public, as the party represented the people.

All 24 plots of land in Selangor — alleged to have been acquired by Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties and former MIC President Datuk Seri Samy Vellu while they were in the ruling coalition — were meant for public amenities like multi-purpose halls and kindergartens, said Umno state lawmaker for Kuang, Abdul Shukur Idrus.

“Umno is ‘rakyat’… Umno represents 400,000 ‘rakyat’ in Selangor. (The land plots) were not for an individual. They’re for an organisation with many members.

“Can’t Umno receive land for the use of the people?” he asked, in response to backbenchers from the ruling Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact in the Selangor legislative assembly who had yesterday accused BN parties of being involved in a land grab when still in power.

The allegation was said to involve 24 plots of public land in seven out of nine districts in the country’s wealthiest state, which were acquired by the branches and divisions of Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan between 2000 and 2008.

Each plot of land measures up to seven acres and has a collective total area of around 33.5 acres, mostly in commercial areas.

Of the 24 plots, 15 are now owned by Umno branches or divisions, with six of them going to Umno Sungai Besar division, which was led by former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khir Toyo.

MCA holds five plots, MIC three and Gerakan one.

Datuk Seri Samy Vellu , together with an S Subramaniam and the late Tan Sri SOK Ubaidullah, who was one of MIC’s founders, are named as the trustees for a 2,832 square metre plot in Kuala Selangor.

The biggest plot in the list is a seven-acre piece of land in Klang, which is owned by the Umno Kota Raja division, followed by a 6.5-acre plot in Batu 14, Puchong, which is owned by the Umno Puchong division.

Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim had challenged the BN component parties to return the land to the public to prove that they really have the interests of the people at heart.

“They have to prove that they are true fighters who are sincere to the people … not give empty talk … fighting for the people, but then grab their land,” he said yesterday.