KUALA LUMPUR (May 18): Parties interested to take up the role of master developer for the multibillion-ringgit Bandar Malaysia development in Sungai Besi here have up to June 30 to submit their proposals.

A final decision on the master developer will be made by the finance ministry’s (MoF) unit TRX City Sdn Bhd by July 14, said Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

This time, MoF has no plans to sell any stake in Bandar Malaysia but will keep the development under its full ownership, he added.

On May 3, TRX City called for expressions of interest in the role after IWH CREC Sdn Bhd was shockingly terminated from the job on the grounds that it had failed to meet payment obligations outlined in the share sale agreement (SSA) entered into on Dec 31, 2015. Under the deal, IWH CREC was to have paid RM7.41 billion for a 60% equity interest in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which owns the 194ha site.

Two days later, IWH CREC issued a statement refuting TRX City’s claims that it had failed to make necessary payments, adding that TRX City’s declaration that the SSA had lapsed was “unacceptable”.

On Tuesday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan reportedly said IWH CREC could have a second chance to participate in the massive development as the government was once again soliciting new bids considering the 194ha of prime land has appreciated in value.

“Contrary to some erroneous reports, the termination of the previous agreement is final and it will not be reinstated,” said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a separate statement yesterday.

“The selection process for the master developer will involve very strict criteria, including a proven track record, speed of delivery, content creation, and the financial capability to deliver a project of this scale. The highest possible value will be sought to ensure that the best deal for the taxpayer is obtained,” added Najib, who is also the finance minister.

Meanwhile, Mohd Irwan said the request for proposal process for the role of master developer of Bandar Malaysia will entail strict criteria.

“All interested parties are invited to participate in this process provided they can meet these criteria,” he added.

Najib also named Mohd Irwan as chairman of both TRX City and Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd yesterday.

Najib said Mohd Irwan will head a team with overall responsibility for the Bandar Malaysia project and the monetisation of 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) remaining real estate assets.

The prime minister also called for an end to the Budiman Committee, which was established in 2015 and headed by Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani to oversee the rationalisation exercise of 1MDB.

“Rather than just office and residential towers, we want Bandar Malaysia to be a catalyst for fast-track economic development and employment, including the new Kuala Lumpur Internet City — the key hub of the world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone.

“We want to create an iconic development to drive tourism. And we want to create a transport nucleus for Malaysia, with Bandar Malaysia set to host the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail, mass rapid transit lines, KTM Komuter, Airport Express Rail Link and 12 highways,” said Najib.

“Given the importance of this project, it is critical that Bandar Malaysia has the right leadership, the right partners, and the right ownership structure to ensure that its full potential is realised — to serve the people and national interest,” he added.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 18, 2017.

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