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Another Talam scandal by Selangor Government

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KUALA LUMPUR: MCA has exposed yet another questionable deal involving the Selangor Government and Talam Corporation Bhd, this time involving the acquisition of five empty office lots in Menara Pandan, Selangor.

MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong said it was possible that the state government had overpaid by RM1.89mil to acquire five leasehold office lots on Level 17, Block A, Menara Pandan in 2010.

He said the state government acquired the lots, with a total built-up area of 8,077sq ft, at RM2.72mil or RM337.25 per sq ft.

The lots were part of the RM676mil asset debt recovery exercise by the state government. It had allegedly acquired land worth RM392mil and additional assets for RM284mil from Talam Corporation.

This RM676mil purchase of assets is part of the RM1bil questionable deal, which included a grant of RM392mil.

Chua said that in comparison, five units of office lots at Level 18 of the same block were put up for auction with an average reserve price ranging from RM101 per sq ft to RM103 per sq ft on July 28, 2010.

The units were not sold and in January last year they were put up again for auction with a lower average price from RM81 per sq ft to RM83 per sq ft.

“Based on this, it appeared the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Government has acquired its five office lots at 327% higher than the 2010 auction reserve price.

“Based on average auction reserve price per sq ft of RM103, the five office lots should have cost RM832,000, as opposed to the RM2.72mil paid. (As such) the possible overpayment appears to be RM1.89mil,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Accompanied by MCA leaders, Chua led the media to have a look at Block A, Menara Pandan, which he said suffered from “low occupancy”.

He took the media to the 17th floor where two doors that led to the office lots were locked.

“Why bother acquiring them? They are still vacant and still not disposed of,” he added.

He said that this was contrary to a July 13 statement made by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in the state assembly that the assets could be easily disposed of.

He also questioned the rationale for the Selangor Government to come up with a valuation of RM337.25 per sq ft for the office lots.

“What is the state government’s valuation for this purchase? If they can’t even evaluate a simple purchase like five office lots, what conclusion can we form for the rest of their land purchase?” he asked.

On the challenge by DAP for Chua to attend the forum on Talam tonight, Chua believed it was a diversion.

“It is not MCA who should attend the forum but the Selangor Government. One thing I learnt from this whole episode is that DAP will continue spinning even when they are wrong,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Malay Network Organisation president Azwanddin Hamzah has urged Selangor State Development Corporation general manager Othman Omar to clarify its takeover of Talam Corporation’s debt.

“I want Othman to explain why he approved a resolution to take over the debt. Was he willing or forced by certain quarters to agree to this?” he said. -malaysiandigest