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Questionable Westports RM1 billion land deal - Part 2


Media Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew


(Petaling Jaya, Friday) : I was alerted by someone who has read my recent statement entitled " Westports RM1 billion land deal: Why still no answer after police report made in December 2004?", that the actual amount paid by Westports was not RM1 billion as reported earlier, but a whopping RM1.81 billion!


The figure was found in the 2005 AG Report according to a Business Times Singapore report dated 13 August 2005. To me, RM1 billion for 1,000 acres was unreasonably high, what more if the amount was RM1.81 bullion? 


According to S Jayasankaran who filed the news report titled " AG highlights Port Klang's financial dilemma", " MALAYSIA'S Port Klang Authority (PKA) cannot meet huge debt obligations of almost RM3 billion (S$1.32 billion) which will begin in 2007 without some serious government help, according to a report by the Auditor-General on the Authority's financial statements for the year ended Dec 31, 2003.


According to the AG's report, KPA agreed to purchase 1,000 acres of land near Westport from a private company for RM1.81 billion in November 2002. The plan, which has received federal government approval, was to create a national loading centre and a regional distribution hub along the lines of a similar distri-park in Dubai.


Earlier, it was reported that the deal valued the land at more than RM25 per square foot, which is more than 44% higher than the market value at that time (about RM14 psf). The AG described the price as something 'calculated on a special-value basis'. What would the AG describe if the price was RM1.81 billion? Can anyone in the PKA or the Transport Ministry now tell us what exactly was "calculated on a special-value basis"?


According to S Jayasankaran, the private company, which was unnamed in the AG's report, is Kuala Dimensi, which is controlled by the family of Sarawak tycoon Tiong King Sing. Tiong is currently the Bintulu MP). Since 2002, it has been chaired by Azim Zabedi, who was named treasurer of the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) in 2004.


The AG's report stated that KPA paid a 10 per cent down payment of RM108.5 million and agreed to pay the rest over 10 years beginning 2007 in installments of between RM130 million and RM179 million.

But that isn't all. The report stated KPA signed another agreement with Kuala Dimensi to develop the land as a distribution hub for RM519 million in 2003.

Subsequently, the authority signed another supplementary agreement with Kuala Dimensi to develop the land but this time for RM1.3 billion. No explanation was given for the price increase according to the Business Times Singapore report.


The report noted that a similar scheme of payment would be undertaken by KPA - namely, it would pay Kuala Dimensi a down payment of RM100 million, while the rest would be paid between 2007 and 2017 on a staggered basis. But the report stated that KPA did not have that kind of money.


Between 2001 and 2003, the authority's net earnings ran between 'a deficit of RM1.5 million and a surplus of RM16 million'.


In the absence of other sources of financing, it looks like the taxpayer will have to cough it up.


According to Merdekareview. com (a popular Chinese Internet news portal), Tan Sri Gnalingam claimed that Westports has no problem of serving the debt of RM1 billion. He said the debt could be settled by 2010. The question now is, why don't Westports start paying up now if the company has the money?


I have made a police report on the scandalous Westports RM1 billion land deal in December 2004, urging the police to instigate MCA leaders like Ling Liong Sik, Chan Kong Choy, Yap Pian Hon and Umno leader Rahman Palil (Sementa State Assemblyman).


More than two years have passed but nothing has come out of my police report. But now we were told that both the Westports and PKA were in deep financial problems. In fact, PKA is said to have incurred some RM3 billion in debts!


Incidentally, Yap has been replaced by Chor Chee Heong from April 16,2007. Would Chor be any different from Yap Pian Hon? Your guess is as good as my guess.


I would make a second police report next week with the Klang police after touring the so-called Westports free zone.


*Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew , DAP CEC member and NGO bureau chief

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