No takers for Bandar Malaysia

No developers have come forward to take up the challenge, says Tony Pua

By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The Bandar Malaysia mega project has failed to attract a new master developer even though an open tender has been offered for some time for the proposed 197ha project sited at the former Sungai Besi military airport in Kuala Lumpur.

MP Tony Pua (Pakatan Harapan-Damansara), who is also Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s special officer, said the Finance Ministry discovered that no firm had come forward to take up the challenge.

“When we asked the ministry officials, the number of developers who came forward was zero,” he told the Dewan Rakyat during the debate on the Royal Address.

Last year, former Treasury secretary general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said six companies have shown interest and visited the Bandar Malaysia project site, following a request for proposal (RFP) that commenced in June 2017 for the role of master developer in the Bandar Malaysia project.

Owned by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the project was originally awarded to China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) and its Malaysian partner, Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH), in December 2015 in a RM7.4 billion deal aimed at tackling 1MDB’s massive debt burden.

However, in May 2017, the government announced that the share sale agreement with the Chinese state fund CREC and IWH regarding the sale of 60% of Bandar Malaysia’s issued and paid-up capital had lapsed and, therefore, terminated.

Bandar Malaysia’s RFP exercise was opened only to Fortune 500 companies with a combined revenue of RM50 billion or more in the past three years.

Bandar Malaysia, 3km away from the Tun Razak Exchange project in Kuala Lumpur, is an urban redevelopment project that was envisioned to be an inclusive and public transitoriented neighbourhood.

It is designed as a walkable community through a series of safe, secure pedestrian and cycling networks, set against a backdrop of open spaces and greenery.

Bandar Malaysia was said to be developed within 20 to 25 years. Works on the first phase of the project, which has a gross development value of RM50 billion to RM60 billion, was slated to begin early 2018.

In June 2017, Bandar Malaysia announced that the project has secured financing with the setting up of a dedicated fund backed by local and international banks that have a combined asset base of over US$13 trillion (RM53.12 trillion).

Among financial institutions found to support the Bandar Malaysia Fund then were Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd, China Construction Bank Corp and HSBC Group. The local lenders were CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd and Affin Holdings Bhd.