Allocation of 3,300 acres of State land in Kuala Sungai Baru, Malacca

106 MT Jalan Ujong Pasir,
29th. November, 1975.

Tan Sri Ibrahim Salleh,
National Bureau of Investigations,
Kuala Lumpur.

Dear Tan Sri,

Allocation of 3,300 acres of State land in Kuala Sungai Baru, Malacca, to Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. one of whose director is State Executive Councillor, Tuan Abdul Ghani bin Ishak

I write to bring your attention to the case of the allocation of 3,300 acres of State land in Kuala Sungai Baru, Malacca, at the ridiculously low premium of $10 an acre by the Malacca State Government to Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. one of whose directors is a State Executive Councillor Tuan Abdul Ghani bin Ishak.

There is firstly a directly conflict of interest where the Executive Council approved the alienation of 3,300 acres of State land to a private company, one of whose directors is a member of the Executive Council.

This contravenes Claus 10 of the Malacca Constitution which reads:

“ A Member of the Executive council shall not engage in any trade, business or profession connected with any subject or department for which he is responsible and shall not, so long as he is engaged in any trade, business or profession , take part in any decision of the Executive Council relating to the trade, business or profession or in any decision likely to affect his pecuniary interest.”

It therefore raises the question whether Tuan Abdul Ghani Ishak has committed a corrupt practice by using his public office for his pecuniary advantage in the facilitating of the decision of the State Executive Council on the Allocation of 3,300 acres of land to Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. where he has a direct pecuniary interest.

Apart from the fact that the other directors of the firm are well-posited political leaders in the State, the Secretary of the firm is none other than the Press Secretary to the Chief Minister, Malacca.

The circumstances surrounding the alienation of the 3,300 acres of land to Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. are not above-board.

Thus, the Chief Minister had said that the State Government had decided to give the land to the Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bha. Because it had proved its capabilities in developing the land into an oil palm estate.

The Syarikat Sri Lingga was incorporated under the Companies Act 1965 only on 30th Nov. 1974 – No. Syarikat 3478/74 – and could therefore have no record in land development.

That the new company is not an expert or specialist in oil palm land development can be seen from the diverse interests the promoters of the Company had, as given in the Memorandum and Articles of Association signed on 8 th Nov. 1974.

According to the Memorandum of Association, the objectives of the Company are:

(a) growers and cultivators of oil palm, rubber, sugarcane, and other products of the soil and to treat, buy or sell any such products either in their raw of manufactured state;
(b) to acquire the freehold or any less interest in land where oil palm is growing or in land suitable for growing oil palm;
(c) act as gents for imports and exports of palm oil and related products’
(d) to purchase or acquire land and to grow oil palm, rice, cereals, rubber, tea, coffee, sage, palms, durians, bananas, potatoes etc.;
(e) carry on business of cinema operators.
The Chief Minister has said that the land was given to Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. because it was the only company to make the application.

The question that comes to mind is whether the company was formed by top government leaders with the sole object of acquiring the 3,300 acres at ridiculously low premium of $10 an acre, and develop it so that they can become millionaires.

In fact, Syarikat Sri Lingga has acquitted another lot of State land of 300 acres, also at the ridiculously low premium of $10 an acre, and I understand that it is the company’s intention to acquire even more State land.

For your information, the six directors of Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. are:

1. Md. Ali bin Md. Isa, teacher, Batu 25 ½ Ramuan China Kechil, Lubok China, KP2455154
2. Awaludin bin Karus, merchant, Batu 25 ¼ Ramuan China Kechil, Lubok China, KP0207975
3. Khamis bin Mohd. Sam, merchant, Batu 32, Kuala Linggi, Kuala Sungai Baru, Melaka. KP2462145
4. Omar bin Haji Gendut, merchant, Batu 23, Tanjong Bidara, Mesjid Tanah KP 2455682
5. Awang bin Arshad, merchant, Kg. Air Jernih, Kuala Sungai Baru KP1993763
6. Abdul Ghani bin Ishak c/o 53-c Jln. Ong Kim Wee KP 2456233,who was appointed on 27.9.1975 (one month before the EXCO deision to approve the 3,300 acres of land to the Syarikat).
The secretary of Syarikat Sri Lingga was Khamis bin Md. Sam one of the five original directors, until 6.3.1975, when he was replaced by Idris bin Abdul Ghani, KP 4317245.
In view of the improper circumstances surrounding the Sri Lingga affair, and also as its implication concerns not only one Exco member, but likely to involve other top government leaders as well, I ask you to cause investigations into this matter so that public positions are not used for the pecuniary advantage for any particular official himself, and also to protect the kampong people of Kuala Sungai Baru and the surrounding areas from being fleeced by a handful of bumiputras who hold high political office, whether directly in Government, or closely associated with it.

I shall be grateful if you could let me know about the progress of your investigations. I am prepared to meet any of your officers to render whatever aid or assistance which is within my ability.

Yours sincerely,

(Lim Kit Siang)

Ahli Parliamen
Kota Melaka
Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Kubu.