Khazanah: Development of KTM land a breakthrough for economic advancement

KUALA LUMPUR: The development of KTM Bhd (KTMB)-owned land in Singapore is a breakthrough that will bring economic advancement to both Malaysia and Singapore, Khazanah Nasional managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said on Thursday, May 27.

The valuation of properties totalling 271ha has begun and will be completed within a month, he told the media on the sidelines of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu)'s Rationalisation Subsidy Open Day here.

Asked if the valuation would be based on Singapore market rates, he said it was being done by independent parties and each side would present their valuations.

"Some numbers have been mentioned but it is certainly substantial. Prime Minister Lee used the term substantial," Azman said, referring to Singaporean premier Lee Hsien Loong who met his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the island state this week.

Azman said Khazanah and Singapore's state investment arm, Temasek Holdings, had already met and a working group had been set up.

The long-standing KTMB land issue that had jarred bilateral relations for two decades was finally unravelled when two prime ministers had agreed that Khazanah and Temasek jointly develop the land with equity share of 60:40 respectively in a joint company, M-S Pte Ltd, to be established by Dec 31 this year.

Azman sees the move as a "breakthrough" for the two countries after careful discussions over the past two years especially in the last 12 months.

"We must recognise that it is very positive sum game, that is a very important point. It is not like I win, you lose, it is we both win. If you look at it carefully, the exchange is fair, it is good," he said.

The Khazanah head does not expect the issue of valuation to bog down the intended development of the KTMB properties that include the Tanjong Pagar railway station that would be moved to Woodlands, north of Singapore, by July 1 next year.

"We need to see the valuation by both sides. The intention is to move forward," said Azman, adding he hoped the matter could be concluded when Lee visits Malaysia by June 24.

He said the valuation had been done before and it was now being updated.

On the term that developed KTMB land could be swapped for land in Singapore's Marina South and Ophir Rochor, Azman stressed that was an option under the agreement.

He foresees economic advancement for the two countries including cross investments that would see greater Malaysian visibility in Singapore and vice-versa in particular, in the Iskandar Malaysia region of Johor.

The rapid transit system link between Tanjung Puteri in Johor and Singapore would benefit people on both sides of the Causeway especially the estimated 80,000 Malaysians who travel to Singapore daily to work.

"Our companies are beginning to become regional companies and they will be rightly placed in a regional centre like Singapore and at the same time, Singaporean companies moving to Iskandar. The whole thing is complementary, that is the key point," Azman added. -- Bernama

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