It’s business, not politics – Umno VP candidate defends Felda’s purchase of London property

(TMI) – Umno veteran Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad (pic) was in a bullish mood today, dismissing talk that his chances in the party’s vice-presidential race would be derailed by Felda’s purchase of a London serviced apartment complex.

“This is business, other government-linked companies have also purchased property abroad, such as the Employees Provident Fund and Lembaga Tabung Haji. You cannot go wrong if you buy property in London,” argued the Felda chairman.

“The property was bought by Felda Investment Corp (FIC) UK Properties for Felda, not for me. It was a simple business decision and I do not see how it is related to politics.”

Mohd Isa was referring to the upcoming Umno polls where he is involved in a six-way fight for three Umno vice-presidents’ posts.

He said the £98 million (RM497 million) FIC paid for the London property was a reasonable amount, pointing out that it was at a prime location in upmarket Bayswater.

“The returns on investment are also favourable. The apartments are fully booked for five months so it is a good indicator,” he added.

He said if property buyers wanted a cheaper price, then they should not look at prime areas.

“If we were to sell the apartment complex next year, we will still make a profit. The purchase of the apartment complex is not related to my candidacy in the Umno elections.

“You cannot buy property overnight. There is a process. FIC has to do due diligence, engage consultants; all of this is a process which takes six months to a year to complete. So how is it related to me contesting an Umno vice-president’s position?” Mohd Isa said.