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Talam deal: Chua’s five questions for Pakatan

 | July 17, 2012

MCA's Chua Tee Yong continues his attack on the Selangor government, insisting that there is something fishy behind the state's dealings with Talam Corporation.

FULL REPORT

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA continued its attacks against the Selangor government today, insisting that the PKR-led state and its allies are trying their best to cover up the Talam Corporation issue.

MCA Young Professionals Bureau chairman and Agriculture and Agro-Based Deputy Minister Chua Tee Yong today said the Talam deal has created “more questions than answers”.

Despite being ridiculed and facing a lawsuit threat from the state, Chua showed reporters a copy of the state assembly Hansard from 2010-2011, saying that it showed inconsistencies in Pakatan’s answers to date.

Chua then listed five questions that he wanted the state to answer:

  • Despite two years of being involved in the Talam deal, the Selangor government has not provided an explanation on the possible overpayment of a total of RM99 million on two land deals (Bestari Jaya land allegedly purchased for RM42 million above market value and alleged overpayment of RM57 million for Danau Putra land based on the auction price).
  • Why did the Pakatan Selangor government decide to purchase land which has potential complications or limited commercial value (that is, mining pond, land submerged underwater, land difficult to find prospective buyer, entangled in court case etc)?
  • In 2010, Selangor government owed Talam RM30million (as seen in the Hansard of Nov 9, 2011) but suddenly in 2012 (after MCA’s questioning), the state disclosed that RM80 million was not collected from Talam yet. What is happening and why is this only being disclosed now?
  • Why is the White Paper (on the Talam deal) not completed by 2010 as promised by Selangor government when the 2010-2011 Hansard indicated that there were no problems?
  • Talam valuation is not approved by Bursa or the Securities Commission. As such, did the Selangor government use the state valuer to determine the price for each of the assets acquired instead of relying on Talam valuation?

“Obviously, these questions show a lack of competency, transparency and accountability in the whole deal. The Pakatan government has shown that it has not fulfilled all of its obligations or promises made to the rakyat of Selangor,” he said.

Chua claimed that the Hansard also indicated that there was no state valuation of the asset and land deals that he had raised, and there was only a valuation done by Talam itself.

“The Hansard does not provide answers as to whether valuations by the state have been conducted on each asset purchased or if the total assets should have been purchased at RM676 million or lower.”

No to debate

Meanwhile, on the challenge by DAP publicity chief Tony Pua to debate Chua, the Labis MP again declined to take it up, arguing that the matter could be fully “resolved” if Selangor state would come up with a White Paper.

“It’s not about me winning any debate… All these [questions] are supposedly answered in the White Paper.”

“From the time the Talam questions were raised, we got many different responses and a lot of shifting of goalposts. At first they say, ‘don’t worry we will table [the White Paper] by year-end’. Then they say they will sue MCA. Then they say they will appoint accounting firms. Then you have parties saying, ‘strip MCA naked’. Then they say debate?”

Stressing that MCA was “asking relevant and valid questions”, Chua hit out at Pua, saying: “If DAP has all the answers, then please help Pakatan complete the White Paper. MCA is asking relevant valid questions.”

Chua said that he found it funny that the Selangor government itself has not been able to answer his queries and needed “outside external consultatnts”.

‘Sidestepping real issue’

On Pua’s press conferences today saying that Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) is “thriving” under Pakatan, Chua said that Pua was sidestepping the real issue.

“I was talking about the two lands that PNSB was forced to buy; did Pua talk about that? Did he talk about the liabilities? Showing that PNSB is making money is another matter entirely.”

However, Chua cheekily “thanked” Pua for “confirming” that PNSB did take a loan of RM230 million.

“Let me remind them that there is another RM220 million that PNSB would have to pay for the RM450-million land. How did they pay for that? Was it paid at all?”

Since July 3, Chua had embarked on a series of exposé alleging that the state government had possibly used RM1 billion in public funds to bail out Talam.

First, Chua had alleged that the state lied about fully recovering its RM392 million debts when it “did not”.

He had questioned why in addition to a RM392 million supplementary budget passed in the State Legislative Assembly in 2009, an additional RM676 million worth of assets were purchased from Talam to further assist the then ailing company.

In subsequent press conferences, Chua also alleged that the Selangor government paid RM181 million for a piece of land worth RM139 million in Bestari Jaya in 2010.

Supersized loan

Chua also accused the PKR-led state government of overpaying Talam by RM57 million in acquiring 134.34 acres of land at Danau Putra in 2010.

He claimed that the state paid RM87.7 million for it when the land, which was also allegedly 80% submerged in water, was only worth RM30.4 million.

State Barisan Nasional coordinator Mohd Zin Mohammed has said that he possessed documents to back up Chua’s claims on Bestari Jaya.

Chua had also alleged that PNSB was forced to take a supersized RM230 million loan to acquire land from Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI), formerly belonging to Talam, as part of the debt settlement deal. This RM450-million purchase, he claimed, caused PNSB to be saddled with a huge debt in 2010.

Calls, led by Chua, have been made for the Selangor state to fulfil its promise made two years ago to table a White Paper on the matter.

In response, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim said the state planned to sue MCA over the allegations.

He also said that he would appoint independent accounting firms to review the debt-restructuring exercise and a White Paper would be presented during the tabling of state’s Budget 2013 by the end of this year.

In the meantime, Talam (now Trinity Corporation) had also denied allegations that it sold land to the Selangor state government at above market value, pointing out that the valuation fell under the scrutiny of the Securities Commission’s Assets Valuation Department.

Pua has taken it upon himself to “debunk” Chua, saying that the Talam deal is not a scandal but actually “a testament and showcase of good governance, competency and accountability by the Pakatan state government”.

Other opposition friendly parties have also noted that Chua’s exposé reveals that BN had done nothing about the said debts when it controlled the state.

Also read:

PNSB thriving under Pakatan, says Pua


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