Pua lambasts Bandar Malaysia development as lacking direction
KUALA LUMPUR (May 19): Opposition lawmaker Tony Pua has lambasted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for making up plans for Bandar Malaysia as he goes along, and criticised the development as one that “lacked any direction”.
In a statement yesterday, he detailed how the 60% stake sale in Bandar Malaysia was abruptly terminated due to a purported breach of contract by IWH CREC Sdn Bhd — though their deposit was still refunded, with interests — followed by what he claimed were rumours fed by official sources that Najib was getting China’s Dalian Wanda to join the project instead.
Then, citing an English daily’s report, Pua said Najib was in return told by China on a recent trip to Beijing that the latter hoped the Bandar Malaysia deal would stay unchanged.
Following that, he said Najib announced the formula for equity stakes in Bandar Malaysia would be changed, and that foreign participants would not be just Dalian Wanda Group alone, and that the position of China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd (CREC) and other groups who were interested would also be taken into account.
However, given Najib’s announcement yesterday that the termination of the previous agreement with IWH CREC Sdn Bhd was final and would not be reinstated, Pua said Najib appeared to have changed his tune again.
“It appears very clearly that the Bandar Malaysia development lacked any direction, and Datuk Seri Najib Razak is making up plans as he goes along. As policies get varied by the day, market reaction can only be best encapsulated by the wild gyrations of the Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWCity) over the past two weeks,” said Pua.
IWH CREC is a 60:40 joint venture between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and CREC. IWH is in the midst of a merger with IWCity.
“Such ad hoc policymaking pronouncements are completely detrimental to the ministry of finance’s objective of snaring a new investor for the project. Instead, potential buyers will only be frightened off by the policy flip-flops which can take place in Malaysia, providing them with little confidence and certainty over their investment in the country,” Pua added.
He called on the ministry “to deliberate carefully the developments over the past two weeks before making any more vacuous decision announcements”.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 19, 2017.