Is something amiss in Bandar M'sia's search for a master developer?

Tony Pua

Modified 14 Nov 2017, 10:08 am

MP SPEAKS | Like the RM7.41 billion failed sale of Bandar Malaysia to the Iskandar Waterfront Holdings-China Railway Engineering Corporation (IWH CREC) consortium and the subsequent imaginary sale to China’s Dalian Wanda Group, it looks like the current Request For Proposal (RFP) for Bandar Malaysia will suffer the same fate.

In my parliamentary question on Nov 8, I had asked the Finance Ministry for a simple update on the progress of Bandar Malaysia’s search for a new master developer.

The new tender process for Bandar Malaysia’s developer comes following the spectacular collapse of the RM7.41 billion deal with the IWH CREC consortium to acquire a 60 percent stake in Bandar Malaysia in May.

Following that was another dramatic public relations disaster when the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak failed to seal an improved multi-billion dollar Bandar Malaysia deal with China’s Dalian Wanda Group.

In an attempt to save face and salvage the project, Bandar Malaysia’s owner, the Finance Ministry, launched a new request for RFP to collect bids for a new master developer for the project.

The new RFP also included more stringent criteria including that the developer needed to be an affiliate of a Fortune 500 company and must have cumulatively generated RM50 billion in revenue in the last three consecutive years.

In the finance minister’s answer to my question, he only restated information which was already made known to the press for months.

He said that the RFP process had been completed and listed out the same criteria that had been said before.

He added that eight companies had met these criteria and that a final decision will be announced soon.

The reply shows that all is clearly not going to plans with the re-bidding process of Bandar Malaysia.

'Six companies have shown interest'

When the RFP was first announced in May, the new Bandar Malaysia chairperson and Treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah (photo) said that the RFP deadline would close on June 30 and the final decision would be made by July 14.

The RFP was finally launched on July 5, with a deadline on July 20.

The Singapore Straits Times had reported on July 25 that seven Chinese state-controlled entities and two Japanese firms were in competition for the project.

They included China State Construction Engineering Co Ltd, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) from China and Daiwa House Industry Group and Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd from Japan.

Then on Aug 23, Irwan updated Malaysians with his announcement that “six companies have shown interest and visited the Bandar Malaysia project site”.

“We took them for a site visit and they need to submit their proposal by the end of this month,” he said.

However, Irwan said the government does not know how many companies, out of the six, will actually submit their proposals based on the RFP for the project.

Now, it is now four months after the RFP was announced and we have had no further updates as to who might become the master developer for the Bandar Malaysia.

All we have from the media and parliamentary responses is there are six to eight companies who were perhaps interested in the project.

The delay and inconsistent announcements made points to a simple conclusion - Bandar Malaysia is no nearer to finding a new suitor than it did when it terminated the failed agreement with the IWH CREC consortium.

The so-called interested parties were either not that interested, or were not willing to offer anything close to the Finance Ministry's over-priced valuation of Bandar Malaysia.

The Finance Ministry should stop daydreaming and start getting real.

The previous Bandar Malaysia “open tender” resulted in the IWH CREC consortium winning the bid but allegedly failing to secure the necessary financing for the valuation to complete the transaction. The IWH CREC consortium denied this.

It follows to ask why would any global company in the right mind, offer anything more for Bandar Malaysia especially when they also know that the Finance Ministry is rather desperate to make the sale?

TONY PUA is member of parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara and DAP national publicity secretary.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.