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Opposition wants expo centre papers tabled in Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: Concerned that there will be a repeat of the Port Klang Free Zone fiasco, the opposition wants the privatisation project involving a RM628 million exhibition centre to be tabled in Parliament.

The opposition also called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to re-tender the project to pick the best contractor or developer.

"Failing which, we demand that all ministerial papers relating to the project be declassified and tabled in Parliament to prove that all necessary due diligence has been conducted with no inflated cost to the government or inflated profits to the concessionaire," said DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua on Nov 23.

The award of the project with a gross development value of RM15 billion by direct negotiations to Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd goes against what the prime minister had promised, said the Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament.

"This goes against what Najib promised us when he was appointed finance minister in November 2008," said Pua in the Parliament lobby.

Pua said that the Ministry of Finance was unaware why there was no open tender for the project as it came under the Prime Minister’s Department.

When the question was posed on Nov 19 during the committee stage debate on the Ministry of Finance, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Awang Adek said he could not reply as he was not aware of the project, Pua explained.

"He said that it was a privatisation project which fell under the office of the prime minister," he added.

Naza TTDI was awarded the project to build a RM628-million exhibition centre for Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) in exchange for 2.8 million sq ft of prime land near Mont Kiara.

Naza TTDI, the property arm of the Naza Group, signed a privatisation agreement via subsidiary TTDI KL Metropolis Sdn Bhd with the government and Syarikat Tanah dan Harta Sdn Bhd (a Minister of Finance Inc company) for the land-for-construction deal on Nov 18.

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, Nov 24, 2009.

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