Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 26th November 2009:
PAC must act fast –– prevent another multibillion-ringgit Matrade 2 scandal after the 10-year RM287 million Matrade 1 scandal
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) must act fast – prevent another multibillion-ringgit Matrade 2 scandal after the 10-year RM287 million Matrade 1 scandal.
The PAC had previously held several meetings on the Matrade 1 scandal, but they were of no practical relevance or consequence as what the PAC did was to lock the stable door after the horses had bolted.
As far as I know, not a single sen had been recovered by the government despite solemn assurances in Parliament by the Ministers concerned to pursue legal actions and penalties against the defaulting parties – with the Umno cronies laughing all the way to the bank with their ill-gotten multi-million ringgit NEP gains.
In the first Matrade scandal, the 24-storey Matrade building took some 10 years to be completed at a RM120 million cost overrun resulting in a final cost of RM287 million, i.e. at over 70 per cent of the original estimates of RM167 million. For years, the cracked façade of the incomplete Matrade Building stood as shameful symbol of Third World Mentality in a land of First World Infrastructures in the very heart of the federal capital.
Now, a multi-billion ringgit Matrade 2 scandal is in the making.
The shocking claim by the Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Mustapha Mohamad in Parliament yesterday that the government was getting a RM628 million Matrade expo centre for free from Naza TTDI in a building-for-land deal, exchanging the centre for 62.5 acres of prime land in Kuala Lumpur for a project with a gross development value of RM15 billion.
Mustapha more than raised eye-brows when he said that the 62.5 acres of land were valued in 2007 at RM197 million or some RM72 per sq ft, when unconverted land for Hartamas/Duta areas in Kuala Lumpur is already over RM100 per sq ft.
The Cabinet must stop the whole Matrade-TTDI Naza project until it gets full clearance by the PAC as complying with the Prime Minister’s commitment to transparency, accountability, integrity and good governance – in particular with regard to open tenders for mega government projects.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor