[Opinion] MOF’s Exchange Tower buyout smells like bailout

The Edge reported yesterday of the Ministry of Finance’s takeover of the 106-storey 106 Exchange Tower through the company MKD Signature. The 3.42 acres of land for the project was previously acquired by Indonesian conglomerate, Mulia Group for the sum of RM665 million.

The 106-storey Exchange Tower was initially proof of 1MDB’s success with the TRX project as it was a wholly-owned foreign investment by Indonesia’s Mulia Group. However, news of the transfer of a majority stake ‘back’ to the Malaysian government goes to prove that there is something extremely fishy going on.

Why is it even necessary for the government to use taxpayers’ funds to get involved in another mega-property project? Didn’t the Second Finance Minister, Johari Abdul Ghani announce a cabinet decision to freeze all high-end commercial and residential projects?

Why is the Ministry of Finance participating in the aggravation of the property glut in the country?

More importantly, if Mulia Group had paid RM665 million for the land, the question is how much did the Ministry of Finance pay to acquire the 51% stake in the project?

The complete lack of transparency over the deal, which would involve hundreds of millions of ringgit, possibly to the tune of billions, raises suspicions that it is really another one of the series of continued bailouts of the debt-stricken 1MDB.

Read the full original article at malaysiakini.

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