Thursday, 12 July 2012

'Something fishy with Noh's 30-acre prawn farm land'

Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Noh Omar has been accused of conflict of interest for entering an alleged joint-venture to run a prawn farm last year.

Sekinchan state assemblyperson Ng Suee Lim said a private caveat was made on a 30-acre piece of land in Tanjung Karang - about the size of 15 football fields - which is owned by Noh, who is the Tanjung Karang MP.

NONEUnder the agreement, Noh had given consent to Pristine Agrofood Sdn Bhd to operate the prawn farm on the land for 10 years.

“This certainly constitutes conflict of interest as this joint-venture comes under his portfolio,” he told the state legislative assembly sitting today.

Contacted late this evening, Pristine Agrofood director Chu Bak Teck said Noh is not involved in their business and is merely the land owner. Chu added that Noh's land is only part of the 100-acre farm.

Ng made the revelation during a debate on a motion, which he tabled, to mull banning all Selangor lawmakers and local councillors from buying state land during their tenure. The motion was later passed.

What if Noh becomes MB?

Based on official documents released by Ng later, Noh had purchased the land, Lot 26426 in Bagan Tengkorak, in 1995.

A certificate of ownership was issued by the Selangor Land Ownership Registrar in September 2009, five months after Noh was appointed to his current cabinet position.

The documents showed that Noh inked a private caveat sought by Pristine Agrofood to not sell the land for 10 years, beginning 2011 to maintain the farm.

During the debate at the state assembly sitting, Ng said Noh had "sapu (swept)" land belonging to the people and questioned how the minister managed to obtain such a large piece of land, while it is difficult for others to do so.

"This is very embarassing for Noh, who is touted as a possible (BN) candidate for the Selangor menteri besar position, to be involved in this scandal.

“Now he already made off with 30 acres of the people's land. What if he becomes menteri besar one day?” he said.
Interjecting, Sulaiman Abdul Razak (BN-Permatang) came to Noh’s defense, stating that the deal was above board.

“He got the land before he was a parliamentarian. I don’t find any wrongdoing on that,” he said.
Recently, Ng had made a string of allegations against the Tanjung Karang Umno division, accusing it of buying state land at a heavy discount.

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