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PKFZ : Deal consistent with JPPH valuation but Talam : Deal never follows JPPH valuation

In July 29 last year, former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik was charged with misleading the cabinet into approving a land deal at an inflated price.

Dr Ling, 68, is charged with cheating the government by not disclosing to the Cabinet an additional interest rate of 7.5 percent per annum on the purchase price of the land for the PKFZ project, which had been fixed at RM1,088,456,000 by the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) based on RM25 per sq ft inclusive of the coupon/interest rate.

He also faces two alternative charges, of cheating and intentionally omitting from the Cabinet that the 7.5 percent per annum was an additional interest rate on the land price.

The offences were allegedly committed at the fourth floor of the Prime Minister’s Office, Perdana Putra building in Putrajaya, between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002.

The case has since been tried before High Court Judge Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi.

On Thurs, 21 March 2013, it was reported that an expert has testified in the trial of Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, that the sale and purchase agreement (SPA) for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) land was consistent with the valuation done by the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH).

Earlier in the trial, Dr Mahathir has also testified that the figure given in Dr Ling’s letter in June 2002 is actually lower than the figure stated by JPPH.

“Figure given by JPPH is actually bigger than figure stated by Datuk Seri Ling Liong Sik,” Dr Mahathir said.

He disagreed that this could be taken to mean that there was an attempt to cheat or mislead him.

Dr Mahathir said that if Dr Ling had given a figure that was higher than the Valuation and Property Services Department(JPPH)’s figures, he would agree that there was a bid to mislead.

Upon reading this, people in Selangor cannot help but relate it to the Talam land deal structured by the MB Selangor in year 2010.

Wong Koon Mun (BN-Kuala Kubu Baru) has highlighted that the Property Services and Valuation Department (JPPH) was not used to valuate Talam’s assets and the state government had instead used the services of a private appraiser.

He further claimed that most of Talam’s 160 hectare land in Ulu Yam had grade 3 and 4 slopes, which were unsuitable for development and had been forfeited by the State Government after purchasing it from Talam.

Sulaiman Razak (BN-Permatang) has also posted a question which has never been answered why the 539.2 hectare Talam land in Bukit Beruntung was taken over by the Selangor government at RM262 million whereas the land was only assessed at RM113 million by JPPH.

In reply during the winding up of State Assembly, MB Abdul Khalid had merely confused all including himself by saying that the Talam land evaluations were based on commercial rates to speed up the process of acquiring the debt as the company’s financial situation was critical and categorised as PN17 in BursaMalaysia.  He added that the decision was based on the commercial and not administrative aspect.

The lack of trustworthiness of MB Selangor in Talam land deal has been confirmed when MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong said in December last year that Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB)‘s  announcement on Bursa Malaysia shows discrepancies in the Selangor government’s debt recovery exercise involving Talam Corporation Bhd. The announcement confirmed that the amount owed to KHSB by Talam Group had been reduced from RM236mil to RM115mil and the reasons are still pending further investigation by auditors.

It is disappointing to say that with election so near, there are many unanswered questions regarding the Talam land deal and there is more to be unravelled and unearthed.  How could we expect to see a change for a better tomorrow?