Former Felda chairman expected to be charged on Friday over purchase of Kuching hotel

Mr Tan Sri Isa Samad is expected to face a slew of charges including criminal breach of trust.
Mr Tan Sri Isa Samad is expected to face a slew of charges including criminal breach of trust.PHOTO: ST FILE

PUTRAJAYA - The former chairman of Malaysia's troubled land-development agency Felda, Tan Sri Isa Samad, is expected to be charged on Friday (Dec 14) over the controversial purchase of a hotel in Kuching by a Felda subsidiary, reported The Star.

Mr Isa will meet Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators on Thursday to give a statement. He is expected to face a slew of charges including criminal breach of trust.

Sources said Mr Isa, who was formerly chief minister of Negeri Sembilan and a vice-president of Umno, was served with a notice on Wednesday.

It was recently reported that the MACC had wrapped up its probe into the 2014 purchase by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) of the Merdeka Palace hotel in Kuching, Sarawak, and would recommend charges to the Attorney General's Chambers.

Merdeka Palace, a five-star hotel with 213 rooms, was bought for RM160 million (S$52.4 million), when it was supposedly worth only RM110 million.

Mr Isa took charge of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) in 2011. He stepped down in January last year after the agency and its listed arm Felda Global Ventures racked up debt and suffered financial losses. Felda's debt stood at RM8 billion at the end of June this year.

A government audit in 2016 found that under Mr Isa's leadership, Felda invested in dubious projects which collectively lost more than RM100 million. These included forays into data management, broadband Internet services and sturgeon farming.

In October, Mr Isa ran as an independent in the Port Dickson by-election which was won by Pakatan Harapan leader Anwar Ibrahim.