KUALA LUMPUR (July 25): Eight companies have registered interest to be the master developer of the RM12.35 billion Bandar Malaysia project, according to Minister of Finance II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani. 

“I was informed by the treasury sec-gen (secretary-general) that there are about eight companies that have submitted their interest. By the end of this month or early next month, they will have to sit down and go through it," Datuk Johari said, referring to Tan Sri Irwan Serigar, who is also chairman of Bandar Malaysia.

“The board of 1MDB will look at the proposals and we will leave them to it,” he told the press on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2017 today.

Earlier this month, the request for proposal (RFP) process to select the master developer for the development was opened, after TRX City Sdn Bhd terminated the planned sale of a 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia to IWH CREC Sdn Bhd in May.

TRX City said IWH CREC, a jointly-owned entity between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Bhd (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd, had failed to meet the payment obligations under the share sale agreement.

In response, IWH CREC said the allegation was unacceptable, as IWH CREC had fulfilled “all the required payment obligation” under the agreement entered into on Dec 31, 2015.

A report by The Straits Times of Singapore today said the Bandar Malaysia development project "is finding no shortage of interest, with a stiff contest shaping up between a clutch of China's state-owned entities and two Japanese giants, Daiwa House Industry Group and Mitsui Fudosan".

The daily said the government "has received nine pitches on how to develop the 197ha one-time air force base on the southern fringes of the capital Kuala Lumpur... The bids received feature development plans valued between US$7 billion (RM30 billion) and US$10.5 billion, according to Malaysian government officials."

In addition, there is great interest in Bandar Malaysia "largely because it will house the terminus for the multibillion- dollar high-speed rail project that will connect Kuala Lumpur with Singapore, another huge undertaking that could cost more than RM50 billion", said The Straits Times.

"The Japanese and Chinese are betting that the successful bidder in the real estate project would stand a better chance of securing a major role in the KL-Singapore high-speed rail project," said the Singapore paper.

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