Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s unenviable task of tracking down Umno’s cash and property will meet many challenges, but topping the list would be nailing down those who were entrusted to hold those very assets as proxies for the party.
Most of the party’s assets, be it in the form of land, buildings or company shares, were bought under the names of selected individuals without any agreements formally linking the purchases to Umno, said a senior party source.
As the holder of these assets changed with each new party president, the task of hunting these individuals down will be a massive endeavour.
“We have lost track. This problem started years ago, when each time a president is changed, the names of the trustees will change.
“Worse still, there is no black-and-white (contracts),” the Umno supreme council member told The Malaysian Insight.
The source, who is also a former minister under former prime minister Najib Razak’s cabinet, said the practice of handing over party assets to nominees began during the reign of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who led Umno for 22 years.
Another senior Umno leader said only a handful of leaders currently had the information of all the asset holders.
“The treasurer should be in the know. Even though we have been members for so long, we don’t have such information.
“All we know is that there are assets such as companies and buildings and land. This also included companies listed on the stock exchange,” said the source, who was also a former menteri besar.
Dr Mahathir led Umno from 1981 until 2003, the longest-serving president in the party’s 72-year-history. Umno was then led by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for six years until 2009, before it was helmed by Najib.
Najib resigned three days after the party and Barisan Nasional suffered a crushing defeat in the 14th general election. His then-deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was elected as the new president during the party’s election in June.
In his closing address at the recent Umno general assembly, Zahid announced that Umno will be seeking to transfer all of its assets from the trustees back to the party.
Zahid also announced that Tengku Adnan, who is also the Umno treasurer, would be tasked with the job.
“Umno will take legal action to obtain these assets. Trustees are trust holders, we don’t want those who cannot be trusted to hold the trust on our behalf.
“Umno will reclaim it all back,” Zahid had said.
However, he did not reveal the value or form of those assets, but denied rumours that the party’s assets totalled into the billions.
When asked for details of the hunt for party assets, Zahid declined to elaborate.
“I have passed this to Ku Nan (Tengku Adnan), he will manage it all,” Zahid told The Malaysian Insight.
The Malaysian Insight is still awaiting a response from Tengku Adnan on the types and value of assets he has set out to retrieve.
In June, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who was also a former party treasurer, revealed that Umno had assets in all major areas nationwide.
He said properties which were bought in the 1960’s were now worth billions of ringgit, and should be sold off to support party activities.
Following the May 9 general election, Umno cut off funding to several divisions as it faced financial constraints after several of the party’s accounts were frozen by authorities to assist in investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
Several listed companies are already known to be owned by Umno, including media group Media Prima Bhd. The party owns 7.96% of the company’s shares through the company Altima Inc.
It had once owned shares in media conglomerate Gabungan Kesturi, a company fully-owned by Amanah Raya Bhd, which has now been acquired fully by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated.
Umno also controls the majority of 49.77% in Utusan Melayu Bhd group, the print media company which publishes Utusan Malaysia, Mingguan Malaysia and Kosmo.
The party also owns KUB Malaysia Bhd, a company that dabbles in information technology and communication, real estate, engineering and building as well as the food industry.
Source : Malaysia Today