Saturday, 7 July 2012

S'gor got RM9.1mil discount from Talam, says Pua

The Selangor government managed to acquire 13 parcels of land from Talam Corporation Bhd at a RM9.1 million discount as part of a debt restructuring deal, contrary to claims by MCA that the move was a bailout.

This was based on the difference in a private firm’s valuation of the land, amounting to RM685 million, against the state’s valuation of  RM676 million.

At a press conference today, DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said this information was in Talam’s circular to shareholders on March 15, 2011.

tony pua pc on talam 2“Instead of criticising the Selangor government, MCA should be praising (Menteri Besar) Khalid Ibrahim for his astute business sense,” said Pua, who is also Petaling Jaya Utara MP.

Pua said that the circular was available on the freely available Bursa Malaysia website, suggesting that MCA did not do adequate homework.

The private property valuation firm used by Talam is Mitra Valuers & Property Consultants Sdn Bhd.

Although the integrity of property valuation’s can be questioned, Pua said that the state makes its assessments with help from the Valuation and Property Services Department, under the federal government’s Finance Ministry.

On Monday, MCA central committee member Chua Tee Yong alleged that the state government had bailed out Talam with RM266 million of public funds.

‘Look at the numbers’

Chua, a trained accountant, claimed that instead of paying its decade-old debt of RM392 million owed to several state agencies, the company had made a handsome gain.

“They say they collected money from Talam, but from what I see it is Talam getting the cash,” said Chua, who had initially claimed that the bailout involved RM1 billion.

It was later established that the RM266 million was actually liabilities to the bank, which the state government had to shoulder as the new landowners.

NONEFollowing this, Chua had zeroed in on his complaint to just one parcel of land in Bestari Jaya, which he claimed the state government had “overpaid” by RM41 million.

Again referring to the Talam’s circular to shareholders, Pua conceded that this appear to be the case because the firm’s valuation was RM139 million as opposed to the state’s of RM181 million.

Although he is unable to explain this anomaly, Pua said that for the purpose of the debt restructuring exercise, the total valuation for all 13 properties surrendered by Talam should be taken into consideration.

However, in the case of Bestari Jaya, Pua agreed that the market value for the land appeared to be higher than the state’s valuation.

BN gave discounts, we didn’t

He showed reporters an offer letter to the state government to purchase the land at RM90,000 per acre, which is more than the state's valuation of RM80,000 per acre.

“The best judge of market valuation is what people are willing to pay for... It is a good deal, because state has undervalued the land. It is worth more than what we ‘paid’ for,” he said.

azlanThe full offer letter, dated November 2011 and prepared by lawyers, was sighted by Malaysiakini.
Pua made the document available to the press with certain names redacted.

In summary, Pua said that the state government did not look into individual parcels of land and was only interested in all 13 plots.

“A bailout is when you gain. In this case, Talam lost RM392 million. What is important is... that (assets) is with the state government. The people did not have to pay.

“Before 2008, Talam was never made to pay the state. After we found out about the debt, Talam was made to pay,” he said.

On the contrary, Pua pointed out that the previous BN administration had given huge discounts to its cronies engaged in land deals, as pointed out by Sekinchan state assemblyperson Ng Suee Lim.

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