We were wrong, says UMNO blog over land-for-MB allegation

(Harakah Daily) – A blog whose allegation shaped UMNO mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia‘s headline stories recently has today retracted the so-called ‘lands-for-MB’ claim against Perak DAP leaders and the Kelantan Menteri Besar.

On January 13, Pisau.net, part of the UMNO bloggers group, said it had been wrong in accusing DAP’s Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming as having accepted bribe in the form of lands in Kelantan through Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, in exchange for the duo’s acceptance of a PAS man as Perak MB.

Pakatan Rakyat briefly helmed the Perak state government after the 2008 general election, with PAS’s Nizar Jamaluddin as MB.

“After reading and having compared facts provided by MediaPerak that Raja Nazrin (crown prince of Perak) had appointed Nizar (as MB) at that time, Pisau would like to correct the facts in that Ngeh Koo Ham, Nga Kor Ming and Nik Aziz were not involved in allocation of free lands, instead the lands were mortgaged through takeover of Upayapadu,” wrote Pisau.net.

In his response, Ngeh said the explanation cleared names but it was insufficient.

“Besides publishing the article in full in blog, we also want pisau.net to publish a public statement on the denial in five mainstream papers within seven days after receiving our legal notice,” said Negh, the Beruas member of parliament, who has initiated a defamation suit against the blogger and several newspapers.

The controversy started when Utusan Malaysia and other UMNO-controlled media used information obtained from Pisau.net. Among others, it had alleged that 10,526 acres of land worth over RM30 million in Gua Musang was given by the Kelantan state government to Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Ngeh and his cousin Nga.

Nik Aziz’s press secretary Ahmad Fadhli Shaari had issued a detailed statement rebutting the claim, showing how Upayapadu leased the lands from the Kelantan Islamic Foundation (YIK).

Fadhli had said that the leasing of Upayapadu was done in 2006 and Nga and Ngeh’s ownership in Upayapadu only took effect in May 2012, rendering the allegations false.

This was the second time this month that a UMNO-backed blog had retracted its allegation against Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

Prior to this, UMNO blogger ‘Novandri’ apologised to Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad after he called the latter a ‘bishop’.

The statement of apology was published on his blog and displayed on Harakahdaily as part of the term of settlement.