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BEIJING, 13 May 2017:
Chinese multinational conglomerate Wanda Group and the Malaysian government today discussed the possibility of the corporation becoming the master developer of the ambitious and mammoth Bandar Malaysia project.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak met Wanda Group’s owner and China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, who expressed his deep interest and desire to participate in the development of Bandar Malaysia.
Wanda Group or Dalian Wanda is also the world’s biggest private property developer and entertainment conglomerate.
Najib believed the Wanda Group is in a position to create Bandar Malaysia and is willing to discuss the possibility (of developing Bandar Malaysia) with the conglomerate.
“We (have) not gone into the details or the agreement,” the prime minister said during a joint press conference after the meeting.
Najib, who is on a five-day working visit to China from yesterday, also said Wanda Group’s profound interest reflected the country’s confidence in the future of the Malaysian economy.
Optimistic the discussion with Wanda group would be successful, he said: “We have an opportunity to create something special.
“As far as the government is concerned, we want this to be an iconic development, it has to be something special with green concept, great cultural and entertainment content.
“We believe Wanda Group is in the position to deliver something extraordinary,” said Najib, who is also the Finance Minister.
Speaking at the same press conference, Wang acknowledged the discussion on Bandar Malaysia with Najib.
“Today, I also talked to the Prime Minister about this project. It is a large project worth over US$10 billion and we have not finalised the deal yet.
“We are very optimistic about Malaysia’s investment and commercial climate.
“We are willing and ready to contribute our share to Malaysia’s economic development and to create the one and only unique commercial centre in Malaysia.”
TRX City Sdn Bhd recently announced the share sale agreement with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd and China Railway Engineering Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd, involving the sale of 60% of the issued and paid-up capital of Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, had lapsed due to the failure of the purchasing parties to fulfil payment obligations.
Bandar Malaysia, which will be developed under the public-private partnership model, is a township development project with an estimated cumulative gross development value of RM150 billion.
The long-term project is expected to be completed over the next 30 years.
Najib said he makes no apologies for wanting to build world-class infrastructure for Malaysia – despite criticism from the opposition politicians.
Pointing out that some opposition politicians had said the government was selling the country’s sovereignty by agreeing to develop some projects with China, Najib stressed such projects open up huge swathes of the country.
He said with local ownership being preserved, the infrastructure would bring more trade and opportunity to the people, thousands of new jobs, improved living standards and prosperity.
“In the days of the old Silk Road, those who had wisdom knew that open minds, and borders open to trade, do not compromise sovereignty, but are in the interests of all countries.
“The same is true today, and we welcome investment from all our friends and partners, just as Malaysia, as a seafaring, outward looking nation, proud of its diversity, moderation and tolerance, has always traded with and invested in countries around the world, including China.”
The prime minister said this in his article entitled ‘Why Malaysia supports China’s Belt and Road’ which was published by the South China Morning Post newspaper yesterday.
In the article, he highlighted about his last visit to China when agreements and understandings amounting to RM144 billion had been signed – adding that it was a sign of the great confidence Chinese investors have in Malaysia.
Najib said although his visit was only a very short time ago, but the results have already been seen, for example the launch of the world’s first “Digital Free Trade Zone” in Kuala Lumpur.
“The littoral mission ships we agreed to buy from China, meanwhile, will provide jobs in both Malaysia and China – as the first two ships are being built in each country – as well as knowledge transfer to Malaysia, and help safeguard the safety and security of all Malaysians.
“That is truly an example of win-win cooperation, and if it is on that basis that the belt and road initiative continues to develop, we should all welcome it. We should all contribute to and participate in it. And we should all wish it every success.”
Najib, who is on a five-day working visit to China to attend the Belt and Road Forum for international cooperation, said the forum has an emphasis on mutual discussion, mutual construction and mutual sharing.
“This is greatly welcomed, and I am confident that the agreements many of the participants, including Malaysia, will be signing will set the country on a strong footing for the next phase of this remarkable plan,”
He said the win-win cooperation could be seen in Asean when the group considered just some of the game-changing infrastructure project resulting from the Belt and Road Initiative.
“For example, the China-Laos railway; the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway; the Nakhon Ratchasima-Bangkok high-speed railway; and, for us in Malaysia, the East Coast Rail Link.”
Najib explained the rail line would drive connectivity and economic growth for Malaysia’s underdeveloped east coast, and act as a land-bridge enabling cost- and time-efficient transport of goods between Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
“For, as Asia continues to rise and take a greater place on the world stage, this model will ensure we do so as friends to all, helping those who have been left behind in our own countries and other parts of the world, and open to friends and partners from across the continents.
“This is the Asian century, so let us ensure that it is marked not by the strife, wars and enmity of past centuries. Let us instead be true to our values of mutual respect, peace, harmony, and non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states.
“Let us forge ahead with the building of new trade routes that diminishes none, but serve to increase the prosperity of all humanity.”
Separately, two companies from China today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its Malaysian counterparts to carry out the second phase of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and gas and petroleum pipeline infrastructure project to Pengerang, Johor.
China Communications Construction Company Limited China (CCCC) signed an MoU with Malaysia Railway Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) for a rail link from Gombak to Port Klang, over a stretch of 88km, while China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co Ltd (CPP) inked a deal with Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd (SSER) for a gas and petroleum pipeline from Sungai Udang, Malacca, to the Petronas’s refinery and petrochemical integrated development project (RAPID) in Pengerang, Johor.
Both MRL and SSER are special purpose vehicle owned by the Ministry of Finance.
Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Irwan Siregar, who signed on behalf of both Malaysian companies, said both projects were an extension of the first phase of the projects.
“Phase 2 will provide the vital connection to Port Klang. Ultimately, the ECRL underlines the importance of infrastructure to Malaysia and its people.
“Once completed, the people in the east coast of Malaysia will be connected to the central region and west coast with important stops such as industrial hubs, airports and tourism zones located along the way.”
The construction of the 600km ECRL cost RM55 billion.
The stretch from Wakaf Bharu in Kelantan, under the first phase, to the integrated transportation terminal (ITT) in Gombak cost RM46 billion while the second phase from ITT Gombak to Port Klang would cost RM9 billion.
Upon completion of the ECRL in June 2024, the project will link the Greater Klang Valley to the East Coast Economic Region (ECER).
Meanwhile, the pipeline infrastructure project comprised a 370km pipeline that would connect the ongoing Multi Products Pipeline project (commencing from Malacca) to the Petronas refinery project currently under construction in Pengerang, Johor.
The Multi Products Pipeline (MPP) project involved transportation of petroleum products from refineries in Melaka and Port Dickson to Central and Northern region of East Peninsular Malaysia.
“The project, scheduled to be ready within two to three years, is expected to meet the 30-year market demand for petroleum products in Northern Peninsular Malaysia.
Irwan also said that the Prime Minister stressed that the use of local resources, expertise and local talent must be outlined as prerequisites to undertaking the project .
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