KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has a need for exhibition space and Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd’s proposal was too good to turn down.
Explaining the deal in Dewan Rakyat on Nov 25, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said Naza TTDI had proposed to the government to build a new trade exhibition centre for the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) in March 2007.
"The proposal was accepted by the Cabinet in December 2007," said Mustapa.
"When the deal was proposed then, the land area to be exchanged with Naza TTDI was valued at RM197 million," he added.
According to Mustapa, the country was in dire need of a big trade exhibition centre and the new Matrade centre will have 90,000 sq m of exhibition area upon completion.
"This will double our exhibition area in the Klang Valley," Mustapa told reporters in the Parliament lobby.
According to him, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre has 9,710 sq m, Putra World Trade Centre has 23,504 sq m, the current Matrade has 13,000 sq m and the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang has 10,000 sq m.
"This is small compared to our neighbours. We also need to be competitive with other countries in the region," he added.
According to him, Singapore Expo has 100,000 sq m, Suntec Singapore has 24,000 sq m while Marina Bay Sands (estimated to be completed in 2010) will have 120,000 sq m of exhibition spece.
Hong Kong’s Convention and Exhibition Centre has 312,000 sq m of exhibition space while the Asiaworld Expo has 77,000 sq m.
As for Thailand, the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre has 50,395 sq m, Queen Sirkit National Convention Centre has 35,000 sq m while the Impact Arena has 140,000 sq m of exhibition space.
The minister said with the new centre, more effort will be made to market Malaysia as a trade exhibition destination.
Despite the aspersions cast by the opposition on the Naza Group Bhd unit as a developer, the government said it was confident and satisfied that the property developer is capable of completing the job.
"The company has undertaken many other development projects such as the Taman Tun Dr Ismail development and the Laman Seri Business Park in Shah Alam," said Mustapa.
When asked if the government will help Naza TTDI in raising funds for the development, Mustapa said: "We are not Port Klang Free Zone".
The minister said all the funds will be internally generated by Naza TTDI and the government will not guarantee any bonds issue by the company.
In exchange for a new RM628 million Matrade centre, Naza TTDI will get a 62.5-acre piece of leasehold land to develop on Jalan Duta.
The company plans to build residences, offices, a shopping mall and a hotel over the next 10 years. Gross development value is estimated to be RM15 billion.
Naza TTDI's subsidiary TTDI KL Metropolis Sdn Bhd will undertake the development.
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