“The same ICSB that was once offered the project has miraculously been ‘re-offered’ the exact same terms, i.e., the right to purchase 60 per cent of the issued and paid up capital in Bandar Malaysia. Only this time, the consortium is required to fork out the original RM741 million deposit and an additional RM500 million within 60 days. What this means, is Mahathir agrees with the original assessment performed by ICSB that valued Bandar Malaysia’s 486-acre land at RM12.35 billion, or RM583.37 per square foot (psf). But wasn’t it he who insisted in 2017 that the land was worth RM1,000 psf?”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
Bandar Malaysia is a mixed-use, transit-oriented development initiative by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), first announced by former premier Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak in May 2011. The project involves the development of land spanning 486-acres in Sungai Besi by IWH-CREC Sdn Bhd (ICSB), a public-private partnership between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and China Railway Engineering (M) Sdn Bhd (CREC). In December 2015, 1MDB entered a Share and Sale Agreement (SSA) with the two entities regarding the sale of its holdings in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
The agreement was for IWH and CREC to purchase 60 per cent of the issued and paid up capital in Bandar Malaysia for RM7.41 billion, which happens also to be 60 per cent of Bandar Malaysia’s land worth valued by ICSB itself. However, the agreement lapsed on the 3rdof May 2017 due to ICSB’s own failure in meeting obligations. Days later, Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament (MP) Tony Pua ridiculed the previous Barisan Nasional administration for attempting to sell Bandar Malaysia to someone it knew “could not pay up the full RM7.41 billion.”
What does this tell you?
It tells you that Tony Pua, a known DAP ‘mouthpiece’ and somewhat of a ‘groundhog’, seemed to know for sure that ICSB was ill-capacitated to fulfil its obligations. And he didn’t stop there. Despite the previous Barisan Nasional administration having declared that the sale of Bandar Malaysia to IWH and CREC was at a 60:40 ratio, Tony accused the government of “bending backwards” to favour Chinese developers, who, according to the groundhog, were only interested in “extracting all sorts of financial incentives and tax exemptions from the Malaysian government.”
How ironic, given that the current Pakatan Harapan administration went several steps further by renegotiating all terms associated with the East Coast Rail-Link (ECRL) project to grant China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) an effective 50 per cent stake in the project. As if that weren’t enough, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, through Tun Daim Zainuddin, generously handed CCCC several thousand acres of land that came with exclusive development rights, translating into billions in potential earnings over the next ten or so years for China.
Tell me, is that not called “selling Malaysia to the Chinese?”
On the one hand, we have Tony talking about “bending backwards” to favour Chinese developers, while on the other, we have his current boss, Mahathir, literally “hand delivering” unbelievably large parcels of Malaysian land to Chinese developers “on a silver platter” before bending over to “let them have a go.” Tony was merely talking about the Chinese “extracting all sorts of financial incentives and tax exemptions from the Malaysian government,” while Mahathir has more or less turned parts of Malaysia into China.
And today, Mahathir wants you to believe that his administration only recently discovered that nothing was wrong with the company awarded the Bandar Malaysia project.
“When we conducted our investigations, we found that the company, which was doing the preliminary works on Bandar Malaysia project, was actually not a Chinese company.
“The Chinese (company) only owned 25 per cent in that company. That is why we changed our stance to reinstate the project,” he said.
Eleven whole months to look up terms of a single SSA agreement already made public by Tony in 2017 and only now you realise the company isn’t Chinese owned? The same ICSB that Tony once claimed was ill-capacitated to fulfill its obligations has miraculously been ‘re-offered’ the exact same terms – the right to purchase 60 per cent of the issued and paid up capital in Bandar Malaysia. And this time, the consortium is required to fork out the original RM741 million deposit atop an additional RM500 million within 60 days. Does that not make things more difficult for a company that’s “ill-capacitated to fulfill its obligations?”
Does that also not mean Mahathir agrees with the original assessment performed by ICSB that valued Bandar Malaysia’s 486-acre land at RM12.35 billion, or RM583.37 per square foot (psf)? But wasn’t it he who insisted in 2017 that the land was worth RM1,000 psf?