After three months of revelation by MCA Young Professionals Bureau Chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong that the Selangor Government had bailed out financially distressed Talam and had acquired Talam’s assets in a debt restructuring exercise at much higher prices than officially valued, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) finally conducted its preliminary investigations.
In fact, anyone with little financial knowledge can tell that the bail out of Talam by Selangor goverment is clear which involved Bestari Jaya land (overvalued by RM100mil), Danau Putra land (overvalued by RM57mil), Menara Pandan Office lots (overvalued by RM1.9mil), Ulu Yam land on steep hillslopes (overvalued by RM5.3mil), 60% shares in Ulu Yam Golf and Country Club (overvalued by RM1.2mil) and six parcels of land in Bukit Beruntung 2 (overvalued by RM232mil).
But what took MACC so long to commence their investigation? Is MACC scared of the pressure after Teoh Beng Hock incident which had put a halt to their investigation?
No doubt, the Selangor government have been trying all means to convince the People that there is no misuse of public funds and it is a “commercially sound” debt recovery process.
However, the People are not as foolish as the Selangor government thinks they are.
The problematic lands and bank borrowings taken by the Selangor government to offset against the debt owed by Talam is as “naive” as the Selangor government took a Proton Saga at the valuation of RM1 million to offset against a debt of RM1 million. On top of that, the Selangor government assumed millions of bank borrowings which cost RM86 million interests. Can there be another sweetheart deal like this in the world?
Other than the questionable overvalued land deals, on 3 Oct MCA Young Professionals Bureau Chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong further revealed that two Selangor-owned companies, Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and Permodalan Negeri Selangor (PNSB) were paid only RM10 each in the Talam debt recovery exercise despite being owed RM248 million and RM28 million respectively.
Chua has questioned on the rationales of the Talam debt collection exercise led by the Selangor government when the move is believed to have caused millions of losses to the University. Selangor Umno recently revealed that Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid and the state financial officer had signed the audit report of the university on Aug 27 which showed Unisel had sustained losses in the past three years with a deficit of RM1.63mil in 2008, RM13.55mil in 2009 and RM39.68mil in 2010.
“Unisel’s financial condition has worsened as Unisel only received RM10 for the Talam debt collection exercise instead of RM248 million,” Chua said, adding that a RM36 million discount was also given to Talam although it did not fulfil a settlement agreement that expired in 2008.
Besides that, Chua has also questioned the financial wisdom of Selangor State government when PNSB is apparently now saddled with multi-million debts for some land alleged to be overvalued.
“PNSB has received only RM10 and is now having a loan of RM230 million with interest and costs of RM86 million while Talam Corp saves RM24 million yearly.”
MCA Chua also claimed that the state government had breached the govrenment valuation procedures. He said the state government was supposed to use the valuation by the Finance Ministry’s Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPPH) but the assets (Bukit Beruntung II) were still acquired at grossly inflated prices.
“Of the total assets accepted or acquired by the state government amounting to RM676mil, there is an apparent overvaluation of RM339mil to RM397mil,” he said.
On July 3, Chua had challenged the Selangor government to explain how its exercise to recover a RM392mil debt from Talam ended in questionable deals worth over RM1bil.
Meanwhile, Selangor MB Khalid insisted his administration had not relieved Talam Corp of its debts as claimed, but instead had recovered monies that the troubled property developer owed the state’s subsidiaries.
Khalid’s administration had appointed KPMG Transaction and Restructuring Sdn Bhd (KPMG) in July to review its RM392 million debt recovery exercise following allegations by MCA that the state government’s dealings with Talam.
Khalid said from the review exercise, KPMG is of the view that the Selangor state government made a sound commercial decision under the circumstances at that point in time in relation to the settlement arrangement.
But Khalid said the audit firm did not scrutinise the alleged misuse of public funds as it was deemed irrelevant.
It should be noted however that KPMG admitted that some of the plots of land in the settlement had been overvalued, but that there are circumstances and details explained in the full report.
What is obviously missing and remain unanswered today is the basis of adopting the RM676m by Selangor government, how the values of each assets are determined or negotiated, why the Selangor government has to end up owing to Talam a sum of RM30.5m from the debt collection exercise and why wasn’t KPMG engaged to check if the allegations of misuse of public funds were true.
The People want MACC to reveal the truth whether the valuation through the JPPPH was conducted for each of the assets acquired or accepted by the Selangor government. The People hope the Selangor government will not demonise or interfere in MACC’s investigation as the Selangor government have been granted enough time to disclose the White Paper and the failure to comply with valuation from JPPPH which they had failed to do so.