Is there no suitor for Bandar Malaysia project, asks Pua


KUALA LUMPUR: The delay and inconsistent announcements on the Bandar Malaysia project suggest that there are no potential suitors for the project, a DAP leader said today.

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said that was the observation from the lack of information in the finance minister’s reply to his question in the Dewan Rakyat, on when the successful bid would be announced.

“The finance minister just restated information which was already made known to the press for months.

“He said that the RFP (request for proposal) process had been completed, and listed out the same criteria that had been said before.

“He added that eight companies had met these criteria and that a final decision will be announced soon,” he said.

The finance ministry launched a RFP on July 5, with a deadline of July 20.

Pua said treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah had then given an update in August that six companies showed interest, and even visited the Bandar Malaysia project site.

“It has been quiet on that front ever since. The ministry should stop daydreaming and start getting real.

“The (previously) so-called interested parties were either not that interested, or were not willing to offer anything close to the finance ministry’s overpriced valuation of Bandar Malaysia.

“Why would any global company in their right mind offer anything more for Bandar Malaysia, especially when they also know that the ministry is rather desperate to make the sale?” Pua said at a press conference in Parliament today.

The Bandar Malaysia project, owned by 1MDB, was originally awarded to China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) and its Malaysian partner, IWH, in December 2015 in a RM7.4 billion deal which some quarters claimed was to help raise funds to tackle 1MDB’s massive debt burden.

However, on May 3 this year, TRX City Sdn Bhd which comes under the finance ministry, announced that the share sale agreement with Beijing’s CREC and IWH regarding the sale of 60% of Bandar Malaysia’s issued and paid-up capital had lapsed and was, therefore, terminated.

It said this was due to the failure of the purchasing parties to fulfil payment obligations. But the joint venture disputed the termination, calling it “unacceptable”.

Pua also previously claimed that the finance ministry had refunded the 10% deposit or RM741 million paid by the IWH consortium, instead of 1MDB which had originally received the funds.

Bandar Malaysia’s RFP exercise was open only to Fortune 500 companies with a combined revenue of RM50 billion or more in the past three years, according to a Singapore Straits Times report.

The strong interest in the project was largely because it will house the terminus for the multibillion-dollar high-speed rail (HSR) project to connect Kuala Lumpur with Singapore.