Khalid Ibrahim: Jana Niaga-Unisel fiasco tarnished Selangor’s good name

“To now read about the probability that the institutions I once helmed had entertained the idea of entering into new contracts with JNSB and further to pay JNSB shocks me. It is beyond belief – more so when at that time JNSB had no pending legal actions (such as arbitration proceedings) against UNISEL”

TAN SRI DATO’ SERI ABDUL KHALID IBRAHIM




I initially intended to keep my own counsel with reference to the widely-reported raids on 22 August by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the University of Selangor (Unisel), Jana Niaga Sdn Bhd (JNSB), and Menteri Besar Selangor Incorporated (MBI).

Due however to numerous insinuations on social media and questions from the media, I feel that as a Member of Parliament, a State Assemblyman and the former Menteri Besar, I am obliged to set the record straight and to correct any possible misapprehensions. The public, particularly the people of Selangor, are entitled to know the true facts.

In particular, I state as follows:

1. Around 2003, JNSB was contracted to, among others, construct, operate, maintain and manage UNISEL’s student and staff accommodation.

2. Around 2011, it was discovered that the said accommodation suffered from fundamental and serious defects including engineering and foundational issues that posed safety risks to the students and staff.

3. UNISEL then stopped making payments to JNSB.

4. Around 2012, it was discovered that JNSB had significantly defaulted on its obligations to maintain the said accommodation.

5. The student accommodation had to be vacated on 2 January 2013.

6. Steps were taken pursuant to the contracts with JNSB for the issues to be remedied. However, no satisfactory resolution was arrived at.

7. Around 2013, the contracts with JNSB were terminated for breaches of the same. JNSB disputed the terminations.

It must be noted that JNSB attempted to litigate its case against UNISEL in the courts:

a. On 7 December 2012, the Shah Alam High Court stayed JNSB’s case because the contracts had an arbitration clause which meant that the proper forum of the dispute was in arbitration; and not in court.

b. JNSB appealed the High Court’s decision.

c. On 2 July 2013, the Court of Appeal dismissed JNSB’s appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal meant that if JNSB wished to pursue its case, it had to be brought to arbitration. To this date, I understand that no arbitration proceedings have been brought by JNSB against UNISEL. More than 4 years have passed.

Around March 2014, and about 8 months from the Court of Appeal’s decision, JNSB referred its dispute with UNISEL to the Dispute Resolution Committee under the contracts with UNISEL. The Committee was chaired by the Selangor State Secretary.

Up to the time I left office as the Menteri Besar there was no resolution to the dispute. In spite of the offers made, I was steadfast that UNISEL and/or the State of Selangor could not accede to JNSB’s demands which included a proposal to take over JNSB’s existing bank loan.

To now read about the probability that the institutions I once helmed had entertained the idea of entering into new contracts with JNSB and further to pay JNSB shocks me. It is beyond belief – more so when at that time JNSB had no pending legal actions (such as arbitration proceedings) against UNISEL.

If required to do so, I will extend my full cooperation to the MACC to get to the bottom of this fiasco that has appeared to tarnish the good name and reputation of our State institutions.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is the MP for Bandar Tun Razak and the Adun for Pelabuhan Kelang

 



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