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Election Watch

Economist: Selangor’s reputation at stake

Source: The Star
Date: 16 July 2012

PETALING JAYA: The questionable RM1bil deals involving the Selangor government warrants a full public inquiry, said prominent economist Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.

“It is incumbent upon the state government to call for an independent public inquiry or a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into the matter.

“This must be given top priority because the reputation and integrity of the state government, which claims to exercise good governance, is now being widely questioned,’’ said Ramon, who is Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman and former Transparency International Malaysia president.

He was responding to questions raised earlier this month by MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong as to how an exercise to recover RM392mil debt from Talam Corporation Bhd ended in deals worth more than RM1bil.

Chua had disclosed several examples of the questionable deals. Among them is a piece of land in Bestari Jaya that was disposed of by Talam to the state at RM42mil higher than the market value.

The property was valued at RM139mil, but the state acquired it at RM181mil.

Chua had reportedly also questioned if the Selangor government had “overpaid” by RM57mil for four plots of land in Danau Putra, 80% of which is submerged in water.

He claimed the state government acquired the plots of land in Sepang from Talam at RM87.7mil in March 2010 as part of its debt recovery exercise.

However, one of the plots acquired at RM43.3mil (at the price of RM15 per sq ft) was auctioned off five months later at only RM15mil (at a price of RM5.20 per sq ft.)

Based on this difference, Chua said the state government must explain why it had acquired that particular plot of land at a higher price.

Ramon said it was of public interest to hold an inquiry “to see who is right and who is wrong.”

“The public is concerned over contradictory statements from various quarters. The Selangor government has also failed to keep its promise to table a White Paper on the matter two years ago,” he said.

Ramon also called on DAP publicity chief Tony Pua to respond truthfully to questions raised by Chua and criticised Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim for threatening to sue MCA.

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