|The story on PKFZ is getting ‘hotter’ by the day thanks to the true spirit of investigative journalism of the Malaysiakini team. Please note that Pulau Lumut was the old name of Pulau Indah. And Pulau Lumu Development Cooperative Bhd was earlier referred as “Pulau Indah Malay Fishermen Cooperative”.We are still waiting patiently for Tun Ling Liong Sik, Datuk Seri Ting Chew Peh, Datuk Chan Kong Choy, Datuk Yaop Pian Hon, Datuk Chor Chee Heong, Datuk Tiong King Sing, Datuk Rahman Palil to enlighten Malaysian taxpayers on the issue of the questionable lRM1.81 billion land deal.
PKFZ land sale under scrutiny
|Facts are now emerging that the parcel of land sold to the Port Klang Authority (PKA) for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) for a hefty RM1.09 billion was originally bought for a much lower price.The land – sold by Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) to PKA in November 2002 – was purchased from a local cooperative at only eight percent of the selling price.
Pulau Lumut Development Cooperative Bhd (PLDCB) had sold half of the 405-hectare land on Pulau Indah to KDSB in the early 1990s for RM30 million, while the remaining half was sold after the 1997 financial crisis at RM65 million.
Revealing this information today, PLDCB secretary Ruslan Akhyar said the 1,400-member cooperative established in 1989 received the land from the Selangor government only “a few years” before it was approached by KDSB with the offer to buy the land.
This means the price of the land – originally farm land and mangrove swamps – went from RM1.37 per square foot (psf) when the first half was sold to RM2.98 psf when the remaining 202.5 hectares were bought over by KDSB.
KDSB would have received the windfall when PKA agreed in 2002 to buy the whole lot to PKA at RM25 psf.
Both Ruslan, who is also Rantau Panjang village chief, and Pulau Indah village chief Mohd Halil Selamat – who confirmed the figures – denied any knowledge pertaining to the transactions conducted subsequent to PLDCB’s disposal of the land.
‘This is business’
They also declined to comment on the tremendous difference between the prices at which the land was bought and sold by KDSB.
“That’s what they call business,” said Halil when contacted.
PLDCB chairperson Abdul Rahman Palil, who is a Selangor state exco member and Sementa state assembly person, declined to comment on the matter.
According to an August 2005 Singapore Business Times report, KPA had paid KDSB a ten percent downpayment of RM108.5 million. The rest will be paid over 10 years beginning this year in instalments of between RM130 million and RM179 million.
While the connection is murky, KDSB has been linked to property developer and investment firm Wijaya Baru Global Bhd’s (WBGB) and is described in WBGH’s 2006 annual report as an “associate company” from which it derived “contract revenue”.
In September last year, WBGB was actually slapped with a “public reprimand” by Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd for failing to make an announcement to the Exchange in relation to “the disposal of the Pulau Indah Land”.
WBGB had failed to send a circular to its shareholders pertaining to the transaction and obtaining the approval of its shareholders prior to the transaction being completed, said Bursa Malaysia Securities in a statement.
Bursa Securities said, however, that it has not found any of the WBGB directors to have caused or permitted the breach of the Bursa Securities Listing Requirements (LR) and only directed WBGH to “maintain appropriate standards of responsibility and accountability”.
DAP leader Ronnie Liu, who lodged a police report over PKA’s purchase of the land in 2004, said the information uncovered made it all the more pressing for the authority to investigate the matter.
“It shows there are some questions to be answered,” he said when contacted.
Beside selling the land on which PKFZ is situated, KDSB was also appointed to develop the zone into a regional export and transhipment hub for manufactured goods, modeled after the successful Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai.
Six months after its completion and about RM2.4 billion worth of input later, however, PKFZ resembles a ghost town, with only about a dozen tenants scattered about the site instead of the anticipated crush of clients.