Amanah: More to Bandar Malaysia deal collapse than meets the eye

Dzulkefly-AhmadKUALA LUMPUR: Is the abrupt termination of the share sale agreement (SSA) between TRX City Sdn Bhd and a consortium appointed as master developer of Bandar Malaysia a business decision or a political decision, asks an Amanah leader.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Amanah strategic director, asked if it had anything to do with talk that the government was selling off too much land to China.

On May 3, TRX City, which comes under the finance ministry, announced that the SSA with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd (CREC) regarding the sale of 60% of the issued and paid-up capital of Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd had lapsed.

It said this was due to the failure of the purchasing parties to fulfil payment obligations. This was subsequently contested by the consortium which said it had fulfilled all the required payment obligations under the agreement.

Dzulkefly said the lack of a clear explanation for the collapse of the RM7.4 billion deal had given rise to much speculation.

He said in a statement: “Could taxpayers be better informed as to what is exactly the reason for such an ‘abrasive’ decision, especially when it involves China, an economic powerhouse that Prime Minister Najib Razak has courted to ‘save’ and ‘boost’ Malaysia’s foreign investment.”

He asked if the government had a better alternative for a master developer that will not be subjected to a regime imposing capital controls.

He was alluding to reports that the deal had collapsed because China refused to give permission to CREC to participate in the purchase of the Bandar Malaysia shares due to stringent capital controls.

Dzulkefly asked: “Or is it, after all, a political decision to allay the anxieties and concerns of the Malay constituencies that we are selling off too much to the Chinese Communist Party, a once-upon-a-time taboo of the highest order to the Malay-Muslim electorate?”

He said going by what had been said by TRX City and the consortium, there was surely “more than meets the eye” in the collapse of the deal.

TRX City, he said, should now anticipate a legal battle with IWH-CREC.