Najib: It wasn’t me who sold Tanjung Pagar land

Former prime minister Najib Razak says many do not understand the Tanjung Pagar land issue.

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak today refuted allegations that he had sold the KTM land in Tanjung Pagar, Singapore.

Najib said many did not seem to understand the issue.

He said the original agreement to stop the train station at Tanjung Pagar and convert the land was not decided by him but was instead negotiated by the finance minister in 1990.

In 1990, under the then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Daim Zainuddin was the finance minister.

The Pekan MP said under the 1990 agreement, Malaysia agreed to shift the station in Tanjung Pagar to a new station in Kranji.

“As compensation, Malaysia was to develop three packages of land belonging to KTM in Tanjung Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands in a joint venture with the Singapore government, at a ratio of 60% for Malaysia and 40% for Singapore.

“After the government, under the fourth prime minister, inked the agreement, they also did not want to honour this agreement and asked for the three land packages in Bukit Timah, also belonging to KTM, to be included,” he said in a Facebook post.

Najib said Singapore subsequently agreed to include the Bukit Timah land in the joint development plan, but Malaysia still refused to honour the agreement due to a feud with the city state on several issues at the time.

“As a result, the agreement and the KTM plots of land were left like that for 20 years without a single sen earned,” he said.

The former Umno president said the land were initially given to KTM in 1918 under the Railway Act at the time.

The plots were on 999-year lease, and its use was only limited to railways. It could not be developed or used for other projects.

Najib pointed out that most of the plots were too narrow because the railway tracks were by nature not wide.

“If Singapore does not agree with us and does not convert the land use, those plots of KTM land will just be left to rot.

“You wait another 999 years, it will not bring a single sen to anyone. Moreover, we will need to pay land tax to Singapore,” he said.

Najib said in 2010, he then negotiated with the Singapore government and reached a new agreement where the city state would give four land packages at Marina Bay (nearby Marina Bay Sands) and two packages at Ophir-Rochor, as an exchange for one land package in Tanjung Pagar, one package in Kranji, one in Woodlands and three packages in Bukit Timah.

He said anyone who knew Singapore would know that the land in Marina Bay is the most valuable in the country, while Ophir-Rochor is Singapore’s new central business district.

“It is far more valuable than the land in Bukit Timah and Kranji,” he said.

The plots of land, Najib said, were jointly developed by Malaysia and Singapore, under M-S Pte Ltd, where 60% of the ownership is placed under Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

The project in Marina Bay, named Marina One, is valued at S$7 billion (RM21.3 billion), while the Ophir-Rochor project is valued at S$4 billion (RM12.2 billion).

He said both projects were successfully completed earlier this year, bringing handsome returns to the country.

“The Marina One project is 3.67 million square feet, covering two 34-storey luxury towers, two 30-storey grade A offices and a shopping mall known as ‘The Heart’.

“Many well known companies such as Facebook, PwC, Grab, commercial banks, among others, have moved to Marina One and they have begun paying rent to a company owned by Khazanah, which will guarantee continuous long-term returns for us,” he said.

Najib said several months ago, Singapore media had reported Khazanah, under the Pakatan Harapan government, was negotiating to let go of a 60% stake in M-S Pte Ltd to the Singapore government.

“Even though the government has denied this, I expect that not too long from now, they will eventually sell it, giving the reason that it is a non-strategic asset,” he added.