The never-ending saga that is Bandar Malaysia

bandar-malaysiaBy TK Chua

People say it is easy to offer our views on how things should have been done on hindsight.

And as I see the events unfolding each day in regard to 1MDB and now Bandar Malaysia, I can’t help but feel that we could have done many things differently.

Instead of creating value, sadly we only created problems. Instead of achieving something meaningful, we only piled one mess after another.

Bandar Malaysia could have been a standalone mega government project without any problem or issue. I think even a mediocre developer could have managed it successfully – raise its own working capital and develop the project in phases based on its own generated funds.

But for Bandar Malaysia, it has been one issue after another.

FIRST, why was there a need to sell the majority stake in the company to others?

SECOND, why couldn’t the company evaluate its partner properly if indeed the sale of its majority stake was necessary?

THIRD, before the dust can settle, why is Bandar Malaysia in a hurry to sell again, this time to another foreign company? Has Bandar Malaysia done a proper evaluation of its new partner? Would the proposed new partner turn out to be yet another IWH-CREC Sdn Bhd which purportedly failed to execute the earlier agreement?

FOURTH, in between the going back and forth, how much time, energy and cost did Bandar Malaysia waste or incur?

Maybe I am not sophisticated enough to understand how mega deals and projects work. But why would a company given a giant piece of prime land in the city at a nominal price need to go around hawking its majority stake to others?

The land would have provided enough collateral to raise loans as working capital.

The development of the land could have been carried out in phases where the revenues generated from earlier phases are used to finance later ones.

Viewed from any angle, Bandar Malaysia could be a stunning success if minimal business sense and governance standards were adhered to.

But what do we have now in Bandar Malaysia? Why is the company so in need of new partners to inject funds into it? Did the company pawn its land to others earlier?

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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