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S’gor paid a ‘magical’ RM100m more?

 | July 20, 2012

MCA's Chua Tee Yong said a state-listed company valued a piece of land at the same area of Bestari Jaya at a much lower price.

BATANG BERJUNTAI: The Selangor state government may have paid RM100 million more for a 2,263-acre land in Bestari Jaya it bought from Talam Corporation Bhd (now Trinity Corporation Bhd), MCA’s Chua Tee Yong alleged today.

He questioned how the government arrived at the “magical figure” of RM181million when a valuation done by a state-listed Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB) on a similar piece of land came up with about RM81million.

Citing from a valuation letter issued by valuer Kumpulan Jurunilai Sdn Bhd to KHSB in 2009, Chua said the valuation on a similar 4,975-acre piece of land KHSB owned in the same sub-district of Batang Berjuntai was placed at RM36,000 per acre.

“The question is, why did the state-listed company, based on the annual report of KHSB in 2011, valued a land in same sub-district at RM36,000 per acre, but the Pakatan Rakyat government purchased the land from Talam at RM80,000 per acre? That’s a huge difference – that comes up to RM100 million.

“If KHSB is accurate, it means that 2,263 acres would be RM81million only. How did Selangor government arrive at this magical figure? Is it a state valuation or what were the steps done to value it as such?” asked Chua, the MCA Young Professionals Bureau chairman and Labis MP.

Chua today visited a portion of the Bestari Jaya site together with the media. He said the visit showed that the lands were vacant and many places underwater and, more importantly, did not have any major developments since 2010.

Reporters were shown barren land with shrubbery and in several areas lakes and ponds.

“We see no major developments at these lands. Perhaps, in order to generate returns, the Selangor government can contact the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry to see if the land with water is suitable for raring fish. So they can at least generate some returns,” he said.

Little commercial value

Previously, Chua, who is Deputy and Agro-based Industry Minister, had accused the Selangor government of possibly overpaying RM42 million for the same piece of land.

He said the state government paid RM181 million for the land when it was valued at RM139 million. The valuation was done by Mitra Valuers and Property Consultants Sdn Bhd in October 2010.

At the same time, Talam valued this land at RM215.1 million.

Out of the vast area, 438 acres were ex-mining lakes and 575 acres of the land were forest and ecology reserve land, with little commercial value.

Meanwhile, MIC leader P Kalamanathan and Kuala Kubu Bharu state assemblyman Wong Koon Mun, who was also at the site, said the state government has a lot to answer for.

Wong asked why did the Selangor government need to “help” Talam by buying the land from the company when there were many others who had better and more valuable land for sale.

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.

Supersized loan

In subsequent press conferences, Chua exposed the Bestari Jaya land issue and 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.

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.

DAP’s Tony 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”. He had rebutted the PNSB issue by showing figures of how it was actually “thriving under Pakatan”.

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 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. Talam had, however, later admitted that it had erred when it said the Securities Commission gave approvals.

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:

DAP invites MCA for Talam forum


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