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‘I am still waiting for the sharks to be caught.’

PETALING JAYA: Former cabinet minister Zaid Ibrahim has welcomed yesterday’s arrest of former Felda chairman Isa Samad although he described it as only a “medium size” catch by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“But it’s still better than a small fish,” he told FMT. “I’m still waiting for the sharks to be caught.”

He added that Isa should take leave from all official positions pending the conclusion of investigations.

Zaid, who is now a member of DAP, said he hoped the MACC would scrutinise all decisions Isa had made in his previous roles.

Isa served as Felda chairman from 2011 until early this year. Before that he was Federal Territories Minister (2004-2005) and Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar (1982-2004).

Following his resignation from Felda, he was named acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission.

Yesterday’s arrest was connected to the purchase of two hotels by Felda Investment Corporation, one in London and the other in Sarawak.

Isa quit his position as Felda Global Ventures (FGV) chairman last June following a meeting he had with Prime Minister Najib Razak.

FGV came under investigation following allegations made on June 6 by Zakaria Arshad, who was then the plantation giant’s president and chief executive officer.

Zakaria urged MACC to probe deals made by the company, especially those involving FGV’s procurement department.

Allegations of misconduct and abuse of power were also made against the FGV leadership.

Zakaria met with MACC on June 7 and the agency raided FGV offices in Menara Felda in Kuala Lumpur the following day, carting off piles of documents.

On June 21, Isa and his wife, Bibi Sharliza Mohd Khalid, gave their statements to MACC although no details were forthcoming on why they had been called in.

The London hotel is likely the four-star Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel which FIC acquired on Dec 16, 2014.

Preliminary investigations by MACC revealed that FIC was believed to have bought the hotel at a much higher price than the market price, resulting in the company allegedly losing millions of ringgit.

The four-star hotel in Kuching is also believed to have been bought at a price much higher than the market value.

The high-profile arrest was also welcomed by the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).

C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel yesterday called for a revamp of Felda’s entire governing system and suggested the establishment of a special tribunal of independent persons to dissect the issues concerning the company.

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