The misleading frontpage headline by Berita Harian in their expose of Felda Jalan Semarak development diverted the real issue on the real irregularities of the Joint Venture project. By highlighting the disappearance of the land from Felda's book, the public was wrongly diverted to land-related matter. It is not but instead it is alleged irregularities on the conduct of a Joint Venture project development with Felda as landowner.
More misleading is reaction to the resolution to the impasse with developer and PA holder, Promenade Synergy willingly to return back the land and revoke the PA in a short time since the expose. It was accused as a scripted drama to promote political interest and cover-up the whole episode. It now become fodder for Rafizi Ramli to spin an allegation. It is untrue since the first step taken to recover the land back was in April 2017. BH reported it but it was lost in the pages due to the frontpage headline.
FB writer and lawyer, going by the popular name Art Harun had jumped ahead of Rafizi with his comments on Facebook and got request for comment from Berita Harian. However, his views as reported by The Malaysia Insight was reponded with a dismissal on FB from Lukman Sheriff, another lawyer and member of the Bar Council commitee Sheriff involved with the Felda issue. Though he opened his remark with polite compliments, he immediately brushed aside Art.
A rather fair write up but all the reasons given by Art Harun are incorrect. I can provide with unequivocal answers as I am privy to the transaction but I am relying on public information for this post.
With an in your face reply, Lukman said, “Art is too presumptuous.” It must be a professional insult as lawyers who are supposed to be factual and their every statements are backed by evidence. Art unfriend Lukman from his FB.
Art Harun’s comment to TMI is reproduced interspersed with Lukman’s remaining comment from his FB.
Legal process to return Felda land may prove messy, complicated, says lawyer
Updated one week ago · Published on 16 Jan 2018 7:24PM · 3 comments
The Malaysian Insight
IT will not be an easy, straightforward process for Felda to regain ownership of several plots of land in Jalan Semarak from developer Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd.
Lawyer Azhar Harun said despite Felda chairman Shahrir Samad's announcement yesterday that Synergy Promenade would return the land to Felda through a mutual agreement, the legal process could prove to be complicated and messy.
Yesterday, Shahrir said Synergy Promenade had volunteered to return to Felda at no cost the ownership of 16 plots of land, totalling 66,000sq m. Shahrir said the developer had also returned the relevant documents for the land to be registered again in Felda's name.
"It depends on what Synergy Promenade has done on the land," Azhar said when contacted today.
There were four scenarios that could play out, he said.
In the first scenario, Synergy Promenade may have taken out a loan or a financial facility for the land.
"If they have charged the land to the bank, then the transfer will be a bit complicated because the charge given to the bank must be discharged first. Only then may Synergy Promenade transfer the title to Felda."
In the second scenario, the charge is not discharged but the transfer is made subject to the charge.
"Synergy Promenade may say they are transferring the land to Felda, but the land is still charged to the bank for financial facilities or loans taken out by the developer. So the charge will still be in existence and Felda now owns the land subject to the charge," Azhar said.
In such a case, should Felda fail to service the loan or financial facility, the bank can auction off the land and take foreclosure proceedings.
Lukman's comment: Is the land charged and has it actually been sold to third party?
The third scenario involves Synergy Promenade having already sold properties built on the land to third-party purchasers.
"This one will be very complicated. Synergy Promenade has built all these properties and we assume they've sold some of them off. The situation will depend on whether the new owner or owners have caveated their land to protect their interests," Azhar said.
"If that is the case, the re-transfer cannot go through unless the caveats are withdrawn or the people who have caveated the land give their consent."
The situation becomes even more complicated if a purchaser has taken out a loan to purchase a unit and has charged the bank to secure the land. "
In this case, it is the bank that took the charge who must consent.
"Either the charge is released by the bank and the transfer can be done or the charge is not released and therefore the ownership would be subject to the charge. These are the complications that may arise," Azhar said.
Lukman's comment: Has the building plan been approved and if not how can it be sold? If it involves residential, has the sale permit been obtained?
In the fourth scenario, the land has not been charged by Promenade and nothing has been done on the land.
"Then the re-transfer can be done cleanly because no interest has been created on the land," Azhar said.
This scenario is unlikely, however, he said.
Azhar said in most development situations, the land is not transferred to the developer. "The developer is supposed to develop the land and obtain the finances to carry it out."
"This here is quite an unusual case where the land ownership was transferred," Azhar said.
It was reported that ownership of the land belonging to Felda was transferred via a dubious transaction in 2015, of which the Felda board members claimed to have no knowledge.
Felda reportedly did not receive any money from the transfer of the land, which is estimated to be worth RM270 million.
Lukman’s comment: And don’t forget its public knowledge that there’s a caveat restricting dealings. If the answer is no to any of the above, the whole scenario by Art cannot apply.
Seven projects, including the iconic Felda tower being developed by Kuala Lumpur Vertical City (KLVC), are involved.
"Frankly speaking, I'm quite skeptical as to why this issue has suddenly surfaced 11 months after the new chairman discovered it last February. Why was it concealed and not revealed for 11 months, and now that we are nearing the elections, the problems are solved within two weeks?
"I'm skeptical of this so-called revelation and wonder whether it is an election gimmick," Azhar said.
Lukman’s comment: 2) Every entity has its process to come to a decision. Was the delay inordinate? Was it possible that parties try to resolve until impasse is reached? Why is this reason a political gimmicky? Every similar scenario by anyone else is a political gimmickry?
On January 5, former Felda chairman Isa Samad gave a statement to the police investigating the land transfer deal.
A forensic audit into the KLVC project started on January 8 and is expected to wrap up ahead of the 30-day deadline.
Felda chairman Shahrir Abdul Samad said all the necessary documents had been handed over to the external audit firm appointed by the Prime Minister’s Department. – January 16, 2018.
Well Art, no political game using presumptions to paint a damaging scenario. Keep it factual!