Mindef on Boustead hotel sale: Najib should focus on corruption cases

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 1): The Defence Ministry (Mindef) has told former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to concentrate on the corruption cases he is facing rather than spread fake news.

In a statement today, the Mindef once again reaffirmed that Boustead Holdings Bhd has yet to finalise the deal to sell its Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

The ministry was responding to a Facebook post by Najib on Feb 27 that questioned the Defence Minister's statement which said the hotel sale was not finalised, with Najib suggesting that the Minister may not be aware of the announcement made on Bursa Malaysia by Boustead on Feb 19.

On Feb 19, Boustead, which is owned by the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), said its wholly-owned unit Boustead Hotel & Resorts Sdn Bhd had accepted an offer from Singapore-based Hotel Royal Ltd to buy its Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang Hotel business for RM197 million.

Boustead said as part of the terms in the offer letter, Hotel Royal is granted an exclusivity period of one month to conduct a due diligence on the hotel. Additionally, Boustead agreed to refrain from providing responses, other than rejections, to other enquiries and offers from other bidders during the one-month exclusivity period.

Mindef subsequently said the sales process for the Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang Hotel was yet to be concluded, adding that the valuations are still ongoing, in light of the hotel's strategic location as one of the main tourist spots and hotel zones in the centre of Kuala Lumpur.

In the statement today, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu's press secretary, Amin Shah Iskandar, reiterated that the announcement on Bursa stated that offer letter was subject to certain conditions.

"What is even more saddening, Najib as the former prime minister and former finance minister may have only read the title of Boustead's announcement to Bursa Malaysia and did not read its contents at all, which caused him to fail to understand why the Defence Minister's Office said the sale of Hotel Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang has yet to be finalised.

"It is clear the sale of the Hotel Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang is still not finalised and Najib is advised to focus on the corruption-linked cases that he is facing instead of continuing to spread false news," said Amin.