Friday July 6, 2012
Talam controversy set to grow
KUALA LUMPUR: The Talam controversy is set to grow with MCA asking how the public-listed corporation managed to sell a piece of problem-laden land to the Selangor government at a price higher than the market value.
MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong said the sale was questionable especially since the leasehold land in Bestari Jaya which was sold at RM42mil higher than market value is partly submerged in water, with another portion listed as forest and ecology reserves.
The Mitra Valuers and Property Consultants Sdn Bhd had in its valuation report to Talam in October 2010 stated that the land was worth RM139mil at RM60,000 per acre provided that it was free from encumbrances.
“Talam (now known as Trinity Corporation Bhd) sold the piece of land to the Pakatan Rakyat government at a price of RM80,000 per acre, costing RM181mil, and the land is encumbered and still charged to financial entities,’’ Chua told reporters yesterday.
This was the a second press conference held by Chua after he challenged the Selangor government to explain how its exercise to recover RM392mil debt from Talam Cor-poration Bhd ended in deals worth over RM1bil.
He said the valuation report had clearly stated that debts amounting to RM391,986,473 that Talam owed Mentri Besar Incorporated was to be settled by way of disposal of property and cash payment.
“According to the valuation report, some parts are made up of former mining lakes, and there is a high-tension transmission cable cutting across certain lots,’’ Chua said.
Given the shortcomings, the land was sold higher than the market value, he added.
The Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister said: “I want to congratulate Talam for their exceptional business negotiating skill in the debt recovery exercise.
“Either Talam is good in negotiations or the state government is not aware of the true scenario.
“Or perhaps the state government is incompetent, or perhaps to them the rakyat’s money is not important.”
Chua said the Selangor government had been claiming that the people benefited from the Talam deal. “But I think the one that has benefited the most and is the smartest is Talam.”
On Wednesday, Talam said it was apolitical and that it did not benefit from any transaction.
Chua however noted that, based on the valuation report, 44% of the land had “complications” as 438 acres (175ha) were submerged in water, and 575 acres (230ha) were listed as forest and ecology reserves, which had little commercial value.
He said it would cost between RM50mil and RM100mil to fill up the submerged land before any construction work could be carried out.
Asked how he viewed the threat by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to sue MCA, Chua said Pakatan Rakyat could do whatever it wanted. “I will continue to do what is necessary to be done,’’ he added.
He also said that he had yet to receive any notice of a suit.
“I do not know if they want to sue me, or MCA, or those present at the press conference,’’ he quipped.
It has been pointed out that Chua had never said that the shares of Talam could not be traded in the stock exchange before the deal with the Selangor Government.
In a related development DAP MP Tony Pua claimed that Chua made several errors when highlighting the Talam deals and that he would point out the mistakes at a press conference scheduled for today.