Felda Investment Corp board agrees RM160m Kuching hotel buy not a good deal

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 14): The High Court heard that all Board Members of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB) agreed with the proposal by the company’s management not to proceed with the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites (MPHS) in Kuching, worth RM160 million.

Former FICSB company secretary, Ruzeti Emar Mohd Rosli, 45, said the management of the company did not want to continue with purchase of the hotel, because it would take 27 years to rake in revenue.

“The matter was based on the presentation of the latest status of the hotel purchase proposal by former FICSB chief executive officer (CEO) Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil at the Eight FICSB Board Meeting on Feb 26, 2014.

“About the assessment of the hotel, the overall cost is RM137,640,965.89. The internal rate of return is 5.99%, and the average return of the investment is 3.44%. It takes 27 years to make a profit,” he said.

The 14th prosecution witness said when reading a witness statement on the fifth day of Mohd Isa Samad’s trial for criminal breach of trust and corruption involving more than RM3 million in the purchase of the MPHS before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali

Earlier, during cross-examination by counsel Datuk Sallehudin Saidin representing Mohd Isa, the 13th witness, Wong Siew Yeen, 49, who was the former FICSB company secretary testified that the purchase of the hotel received unanimous approval from the Board Members of FICSB at a meeting dated Sept 3, 2013.

Wong also agreed with Salehuddin’s suggestion that no objection raised by the Board Members when the proposal was tabled by the FICSB CEO then.

The witness also agreed when Salehuddin suggested that FICSB Board Members could have voiced their objections to the proposal made by the CEO, but no one did.

FICSB, a subsidiary of Felda, bought MPHS for RM160 million in 2015.

On Dec 14, 2018, Mohd Isa pleaded not guilty to one count of breach of trust, and nine counts of receiving bribes amounting to more than RM3 million.

The offences were allegedly committed at Menara Felda, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC between April 29, 2014, and Dec 11, 2015.

The hearing before Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow. — Bernama