Axed in 2017, Bandar Malaysia back on track as ‘people-centric’ project

Terence Tang
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a press conference at Al-Bukhary Foundation in Kuala Lumpur April 19, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has announced today the revival of the Bandar Malaysia project, that was previously cancelled in May 2017.

However, the prime minister said the development will instead be “people-centric” and add value to the economy.

“The project will include the construction of a People’s Park, 10,000 units of affordable homes, Bumiputra participation throughout the project, and priority for the use of local content in the construction process,” his office said in a statement.

He also said the project is expected to generate an expected gross development value of RM140 billion and have a positive impact on urban development, in addition to attracting foreign direct investments.

“It will draw major international financial institutions, multi-national corporations and Fortune 500 Companies to locate their regional headquarters in Bandar Malaysia.

“In addition, tech giants such as Alibaba and Huawei have also manifested interest to establish their ICT centres,” the statement added.

In a press conference today, Dr Mahathir said the decision to reinstate the project was reached after finding that more than 60 per cent of the companies in the consortium belong to Malaysians.

“We were under the impression that it was given entirely to a Chinese company. And we heard that suddenly the Chinese company had to withdraw [from the project] because of certain decisions by the [then Malaysian] government,” he told the press.

Artist impression of Bandar Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir said that the then Barisan Nasional administration had offered the project to another Chinese company, the Wanda Group, but the project fell through after the Chinese government decided to clamped down on foreign investments.

In 2017, TRX City Sdn Bhd had a share swap agreement with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd and China Railway Engineering Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd (IWH-CREC) involving the sale of 60 per cent of the issued and paid-up capital of Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

However, the deal fell through due to a breach in contract terms when the purchasing parties failed to meet obligation payments.

In an international open tender exercise participated by over 40 world renowned companies, including from Japan, Australia and the Middle East, the joint venture to take up 60 per cent of Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd was awarded to IWH-CREC.

Putrajaya said today that the consortium has committed to pay RM500 million in advance in addition to the original deposit of RM741 million within 60 days of the announcement today.

Bandar Malaysia, which will be developed under the public-private partnership model, is a township development project with an estimated cumulative gross development value of RM150 billion.


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