Johor Pakatan zooms in on alleged misappropriation of nearly RM1m from Bumi housing trust fund

Johor Pakatan zooms in on alleged misappropriation of nearly RM1m from Bumi housing trust fund

JOHOR BARU,. Several Johor Pakatan Harapan (PH) assemblymen will lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today on the alleged misappropriation of nearly RM1 million in funds by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

It was learnt that the state lawmakers will also raise the matter in the state assembly with regards to the alleged missing funds from the Tabung Amanah Bayaran Sumbangan Kuota Bumiputera (Bumiputera quota contribution payment trust fund), following recent revelations on its shortages.

A state government source revealed that financial discrepancies in the trust fund were found following a check by Johor Housing and Rural Development Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad’s officers on November 19.

“To be exact, the officers noted that more than RM822,000 from the fund was used to finance state government working trips to London in England by the previous administration.

“Initial checks through paperwork revealed that the payment was made to a Johor-based travel agency that specialised in government and company trips,” said the source to Malay Mail late last night.

The source said as of right now, the fund only has about RM174 million left after a large chunk of it was used to finance affordable homes under the Rumah Mampu Milik Johor (Johor Affordable Homes) scheme.

He did not specify on the date or year that the funds were allegedly misused, only noting that the trip was made under previous Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin’s administration from 2013 to 2017.

In Johor, for any unsold Bumiputera residential or commercial units, developers can appeal to the state government for a release consent that will convert a property to allow sale to non-Bumiputeras.

A total of 7.5 per cent of the sale price needs to be paid to the state government as a fee for each released unit which is then put into the Bumiputera quota contribution payment trust fund.

The source believed that the money was missing during the tenure of ex-state executive councillor in-charge of housing Datuk Abd Latif Bandi under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

He however, declined to reveal more as PH’s Senggarang assemblyman Khairuddin A. Rahim will lead in lodging a report with the state MACC on the issue and bringing the matter-up in the state assembly sitting.

Abd Latif, a former Umno strongman, is currently being charged with 21 counts of money laundering amounting to RM35.78 million in connection with the Johor land scandal that broke out last year.

At the same time, another source revealed that the state housing division under the Johor State Secretary’s Office should also be investigated if the trust fund’s shortage allegations were true.

“Yes, the trust fund was under the housing exco, but the state housing division was also responsible for maintaining and updating the main registry to measure the performance of Bumiputera quota ownership by project and district in Johor.

“Despite being a state government working trip, it was wrong to use the trust fund to finance it and the housing division, under the state secretary, should have detected the alleged misappropriation of funds or reported it,” said the source who is close to the Johor PH leadership.

He added that the state PH government is also not dismissing the possibility that there was more money unaccounted for from the trust fund, and the figures may reach more than RM1 million.

“Basically, the figures from the trust fund should tally with the releases of Bumiputera quota units, unless they were not made under the stipulated conditions,” said the source.

Since 2017, the Johor state government has collected some RM600 million from developers who applied for a conversion of Bumiputera status properties. The revenue was used to build more than 6,000 Johor affordable homes.

Two days ago, news portal Malaysia Dateline, broke the news that Johor’s Bumiputera quota contribution payment trust fund was in trouble as it had recorded shortages without giving any amount.

Khairuddin, who is also the Johor Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) secretary, was quoted saying that he feared that the shortages in the trust fund was linked to last year’s Johor land scandal that involved Bumiputera lot conversion.

When contacted by Malay Mail, Khairuddin confirmed that he will lodge a report with the MACC today and pledged to pursue the matter to the highest authority as it involves public interest.

Pulai Sebatang assemblyman Taqiuddin Cheman, who is also the Johor Amanah Youth chief, and several PH state lawmakers are scheduled to accompany Khairuddin in lodging a report with the Johor MACC at its office in Jalan Persiaran Tanjung in Kempas here later in the morning.