By Salleh Said Keruak
Wee Ka Siong of MCA and Lim Kit Siang of DAP have referred to my Blog posting where I was alleged to have said that the Lembaga Tabung Haji land purchase from 1MDB was discussed at the Cabinet meeting. I did not say that. What I asked was whether the Cabinet ever discussed 1MDB during the weekly Cabinet meetings.
Tabung Haji has its own Board that runs the organisation and decides its policies. Not every operational matter of every organisation is discussed at the Cabinet. If not the Cabinet meetings would take days.
The issue seems to be regarding Tabung Haji paying 1MDB a discounted price of RM188.5 million for a plot of land at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) or RM2,774 per sq ft. What Tabung Haji paid was for converted land with title, planning approval and infrastructure. This is relatively cheap if compared to similar transactions concluded in the Golden Triangle.
Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) bought the 1.8661 acre German Embassy land for RM259.15 million or RM3,188 per sq ft. This is about 6% higher than the market value of the land based on the appraisal conducted by CH Williams Talhar & Wong and Raine & Horne International Zaki & Partners.
SP Setia Bhd paid RM294.97million or RM2,200 per sq ft for the 1.22 ha British High Commission land in Jalan Ampang.
Oxley Holdings (M) Sdn Bhd, a unit of Singapore-based developer Oxley Holdings Ltd, purchased 1.3 ha in Jalan Ampang for RM446.7million or RM3,300 per sq ft.
KSK Group Bhd paid RM568 million or RM3,299 per sq ft for a 1.6 ha parcel in Jalan Conlay. The vendor was Suasana Simfoni Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Singapore-listed UOL Group Ltd.
If the issue is that Tabung Haji paid too much for the land or that it was a bad investment then this is not so, as the many other transactions around that area have proven. And the land deal was negotiated before 1MDB even became an issue and not after that.