PKR vice-president and secretary-general Rafizi Ramli has challenged Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin or his deputy Khairul Azwan Harun or both of them, to debate over the alleged abuse of Mara funds in the purchase of property.
This if the Malay nationalist party wants to prove it is looking after the public funds of the bumiputera, he said.
Rafizi, who is also Pandan MP, said Khairul Azwan's defamation suit against him is going to trial on June 6 and 7 as mediation had failed today, and he had obtained leave to file an affidavit to submit a transcript from the Melbourne court case proceedings, as part of his evidence.
“While we await the hearing of the suit, the facts of the transaction involving Mara and several individuals linked to Umno Youth. continue to gain traction,” he said.
“Till today there is no action or announcement confirming that Mara funds were abused by certain individuals and if they were returned to Mara.
“This is in light of Mara's sudden reduction in the giving out of education loans, following Mara's failure to get the funds returned. This showed the government and Umno have failed in their duty.
“Hence, I would like to ask Khairul Azwan, as Umno Youth deputy chief, what are the steps that he has taken to help Mara recover these funds, so that it could help finance bumiputera students.
“Has any action been taken on the Umno Youth members allegedly involved according to the documents and official transcript from Australia?” Rafizi asked in a statement today.
He said the funds involved were enormous and the facts are from the announcement made by Mara itself, minister's reply in Parliament and the documentation of the transactions including:
- Thrushcross Land Holdings Ltd which was bought by Mara Inc in 2014 at a cost of A$86.9 million (or RM260.7 million). A$64.4 million (RM193.2 million) was for the purchase of the company and A$22.5 million (RM67.5 million) was to pay the debts incurred by the Thrushcross. This answer was given by the Rural Development minister in Parliament.
- Thrushcross was owned by individuals related to Umno leaders who are in Umno Youth, and this allegation is made in Rafizi's previous statement on the blog.
- Thrushcross bought two student hostels at a reduced price where Unilodge Swanston Street costs A$23.5 million (RM70.5 million) and Dudley House cost A$22.6 million (RM67.8 million). The total cost of purchase of the two hostels was A$46.1 million (RM138.3 million) but sold to Mara Inc at A$64.4 million (RM193.2 million).
- This meant Mara Inc not only purchased the two student hostels at a high price but also paid the debt by Thrushcross to purchase the hostels which was then sold to Mara Inc.
- As a result of this dubious transaction, Mara Inc. had to sell the two properties at its current value of A$30 million. This meant that Mara Inc lost A$26.9 million (or RM80.7 million).
- This also meant that the owners of Thrushcross Land Holdings who are individuals related to Umno leaders and in Umno Youth, obtained a profit of A$40.8 million (RM122.4 million).
- Of the RM122.4 million in profit, a total of RM14.3 million was paid to companies related to individuals and Umno Youth leaders, Rafizi alleged.
The Pandan MP expressed concern that the abuse of Mara funds could bring a big impact to bumiputera students if this was left quiet.
“Hence I challenge Khairy or Khairul Azwan or both of them to debate with me over this alleged abuse in Mara funds to prove that Umno Youth is responsible in safeguarding the bumiputera public funds,” he said. -Mkini