Westports RM1 billion land deal: Why still no answer after police report made in December 2004?
/ Ronnie Liu
I read with great interest an Utusan Online article titled “ Jaminan Westports melegakan?” written by AINUL ASNIERA AHSAN ( http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/content.asp?y=2007&dt=0515&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=
Korporat&pg=ko_03.htm ) dated May 15 2007.
The article revealed that Westports is now burdened with a liability of no less than RM1 billion…
“Westports yang menyaksikan pelabuhannya mencatat pertumbuhan dua angka yang tekal sejak mula beroperasi pada tahun 1996, dilaporkan kini mempunyai liabiliti yang sangat besar dan angka didakwa mencecah RM1 bilion dengan Lembaga Pelabuhan Klang. Hutang tertunggak daripada sewa operasi Westports di kawasan pesisir pantai dipercayai gagal dilunaskan sejak ia mula beroperasi 10 tahun lalu.” It appears that another major bailout (with taxpayers’ money, of course) is inevitable. The article also reported that the Executive Chairman of Westports
Malaysia (Westports), Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam has given the assurance that Westports will not be sold to PSA International of Singapore. Currently, Hutchison Ports Terminal, a company owned by
Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing, owns 30% of Westports. Gnalingam owns 50% through Syarikat Pembinaan Redzai and Khazanah Holdings holds 10%. Gnalingam claims that the authority has set a ceiling of 30% equity on ownership of ports for foreign companies. (The 30% equity sold to Li Ka Shing was completed when Ling Liong Sik was still the Transport Minister. The sale worth some RM400 million was initially rejected by Daim Zainuddin on question of procedures but went through nevertheless after some special arrangement between Daim and Ling. Gnalingam happens to be a good buddy of Ling.) 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!
In my statement dated Monday, 20 Dec 2004, I said that “following my police report made on Sunday in Petaling Jaya to initiate an investigation on Port Klang Authority Chairman Datuk Yap Pian Hon and both the current and former Transport Ministers, many have asked me about the real market value of the said 1,000 acres which cost PKA a hefty RM1 billion. This means that PKA paid RM1 million per acre for the said land.
To answer such question, one must bear in mind that this piece of land is near the Westports , which is basically not a busy commercial area bustling with activities by any standard. Some of the people I know in the property industry told me that the current market value of the land here should not be priced more than RM14 psf. But the PKA scandalously paid no less than RM25 psf! That means the PKA had paid a price that was 44% higher than the market value, which works out to be a hefty RM 440 million!
One expert claims that if the PKA really needs such a piece of land for development, it can even reclaim from the sea and probably cost much lower with the availability of modern day technology.
When the PKA Chairman Yap Pian Hon was asked by one journalist after the DAP press conference on last Saturday, he claims that he knows nothing about the deal, which was done 2 to 3 years ago, and that the piece of land would be turned into a ‘comprehensive’ commercial project. He did not disclose any details except for saying that the Transport Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy will make an announcement on the plan ‘some time in the near future.’ If Yap ‘s story could be trusted, then both the current and former Transport Ministers must come forward with a good explanation for transparency and accountability of people’s funds. Yap also failed to explain why PKA went into business beyond its statutory role (giving out loans to private companies) and yet to collect the overdue payment.”We want Ling Liong Sik, Chan Kong Choy, Yap Pian Hon and Rahman Palil to come clean on the land deal. All of them owe Malaysians a good explanation. “ Friday, 25 May 2007 / Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew DAP CEC member and NGO bureau chief firstname.lastname@example.org