In the past month, the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) has been heavily associated with urus niaga tukar tanah (land swap transaction) in the news media.
According to Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, a police report has been lodged with Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) involving two out of sixteen land swap deals which has cost the government over RM500 million loss.
The land swap issue is also connected to several former Defence Ministers since 1997, including Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (1999-2008), Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (2009-2013) and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (2013-2018). As of today, all of them denied the allegations made against them.
Another issue that has surfaced in the media connecting MinDef is Boustead Holding Bhd, for the sale of Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang Hotel.
In a statement by press secretary to the Defence Minister Amin Shah Iskandar, the conditions of the sale are yet to be fulfilled by the hotel’s prospective buyer, Singapore-based Hotel Royal Ltd.
In other news, the infamous Scorpene submarine scandal has become the top issue in the media beginning March 2019.
The Scorpene case is rooted on alleged corruption by the previous government which involved the purchase of two French submarines back in 2002 when Najib was the Defence Minister.
In June last year, several NGOs called on Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to immediately remove the blacklist upon French lawyer William Bourdon, who had filed a lawsuit in France.
They also urged for Mohamad Sabu to assist Bourdon and his colleague Apoline Cagnat in their legal case against the previous government.
The issue has now resurfaced because according to Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong, the Scorpene scandal no longer falls under the purview of MinDef. Instead, it is now being handled by MACC.