Can’t solve 1MDB’s debt problems by selling TRX land, says Tony Pua

The Tun Razak Exchange project in Kuala Lumpur.

PETALING JAYA: DAP’s Tony Pua hit out at Umno Youth chief Aysraf Wajdi Dusuki today for asking why Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng didn’t sell off 1MDB’s assets to settle its debts, estimated at about RM50 billion.

Speaking at a ceramah in Tanjung Piai earlier this week, Asyraf said the value of land at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), a new financial district being developed by 1MDB, now stood at RM40 billion.

But Pua, who is the Damansara MP, said the RM40 billion figure often linked to TRX was its gross development value, not the value of the asset or the profits that could be made from the project.

“According to the latest valuation made by CH Williams Talhar and Wong on July 29, 2015, the value of TRX land is only RM2.8 billion,” he said in a statement.

He said there was also an RM800 million loan for the project and the RM2.8 billion advance given by the government to save the project which was “nearly abandoned” under the previous administration.

“So any sale of TRX land would not be able to resolve 1MDB’s debt problems of around RM50 billion, caused by Umno and Barisan Nasional’s abuse of power and deviations,” he said.

Pua added that the valuation of TRX land did not take into account the fact that 1MDB had bought it from the government at a low price – RM230 million or RM75 per sq ft.

This, he said, meant that TRX was actually an asset awarded by the government to 1MDB, not profits 1MDB had made from its own efforts.

“So even if TRX’s land can be sold for RM40 billion, as Asyraf claims, it is the sale of land actually owned by the government and the people to pay off 1MDB’s debts.”

According to its website, TRX is an integrated 70-acre development that will be Kuala Lumpur’s new central business district and Malaysia’s international financial district. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.