PKR smells a rat in carpet man’s deal

PKR’s Rafizi Ramli says it is no coincidence that a government investment firm has purchased Deepak Jaikishan’s company. 

Teoh El Sen, FMT

The buying of “carpet man” Deepak Jaikishan’s firm Astacanggih Sdn Bhd which coincided with the withdrawal of his lawsuit against a Wanita Umno leader’s company over a Defence Ministry land deal yesterday, points towards abuse of power by the government, said an opposition leader.

PKR’s strategy director Rafizi Ramli was commenting on the purchase by a unit of a government investment company Boustead Holdings Bhd, which acquired an 80% stake in Astacanggih for RM30 million.

He claimed that it was “no coincidence” and that this pointed towards an “abuse of power” by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi, adding that he was “shocked at the audacity by Najib and Zahid” to make such a move in full view of the public.

“This is clearly the worse investment decision ever taken up by Boustead, and we need some answers from Najib, who has a long history when he was defence minister with majority shareholders Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera [LTAT], which is something owned by the public, especially the servicemen and is something like EPF. We also want to hear from the current minister. To me, it is outright abuse of power,” he told FMT.

“This is the point that I think has turned the Deepak issue from sensationalised rumour mongering to clearly an issue of public accountability that needs to be pursued. PKR will start the ball rolling here, I think this is more serious that the NFC [National Feedlot Corporation] scandal, let’s see if it snowballs into something bigger,” said Rafizi, who would be holding a press conference tomorrow on the matter.

Rafizi also said that his checks so far found that Astacanggih did not have any track record in terms of financial information or balance sheet being filed.

“The whole deal is shielded in secrecy and we found out that the only thing the company has is a RM98 million loan owing to Kuwait Finance House. I can tell you that RM30 million is defintely above premium.

“In normal investment circumstances, nobody would buy a company like this, one that is entangled with a land deal that did not go through,” he said, referring to the court case involving Deepak’s company and Selangor Wanita Umno chief Senator Raja Ropiaah Abdullah, who was a director in Awan Megah (M) Sdn Bhd.

Rafizi said that the only asset in connection to Awam Megah, which was also purchased by Boustead, for RM130 million, was a land that was still under dispute and the land title was still uncertain.

“I can only conclude that no sane financier or accountant or developer would enter into this unless it is for something else. This is where circumstances are too suspicious, plus it is on the very same day that Deepak actually dropped a legal suit against the federal government,” he added.

Rafizi said that PKR and Pakatan Rakyat planned to go to town with how Najib had sacrificed the servicemen’s interest just to silence Deepak.

Case withdrawn

Yesterday, FMT reported that Deepak dropped the lawsuit against Awan Megah, a vehicle for Raja Ropiaah, without clear reasons given.

On the same day, Bernama reported that a unit of Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera investment vehicle Boustead Holdings Bhd acquired an 80% stake in Astacanggih Sdn Bhd for RM30 million.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Boustead’s wholly-owned unit, Bakti Wira Development Sdn Bhd, acquired the shares from Prestige Dimension Sdn Bhd and other minority shareholders of Astacanggih on Dec 20.

Bakti Wira Development and Astacanggih also signed an agreement with Awan Megah yesterday to acquire 80.94ha of freehold land in Klang, Selangor, for RM130 million.

Boustead said the share purchase and land acquisition would be funded via bank borrowings and internally-generated funds. Boustead explained the acquisition would present an opportunity for the group to expand its land bank.

Previously, Deepak, through Astacanggih, had filed the legal suit with the Kuala Lumpur High Court naming the Malaysian government, Syarikat Tanah Harta Sdn Bhd, Awan Megah and Cebur Megah Development Sdn Bhd, in which he is also a director, as defendants for breach of agreement over the 233.33 acres of land.

Awan Megah had filed a counter-claim in response.