Explaining Tony's 3 misconceptions. I won't blame you if you thought I was going to blog about Tony Fernandes. Both YB Tony Pua, the DAP MP, and Tony Fernandes, the new Tan Sri who's gone from underdog to misunderstood, are on rottweiler-attack mode. Funny thing their targets are airports: Tony F obviously wants to run an airport, and I don't think he'd mind if the Government hands him KLIA2 on a platter. Tony P's target is the development of the Sungai Besi airport, a project crucial to Najib Razak's "Greater KL" plan. Both have misled the general population somewhat, perhaps without realizing it.
In Tony Pua's case, he has created 3 big misconceptions in his attacks against the Sungai Besi project:
Misconception #1. That the 1MDB had gotten the Sungai Besi land from the Government for a song.
The fact is, the air base land in Sungai Besi is still Government land because 1MDB is wholly-owned by the Government as its sole shareholder. Federal Government lands are held under the name of the Federal Lands Commissioner. The beneficiary is the Government. When ownership of the Sungai Besi land went to 1MDB, the beneficiary is still the Government.
When the ultimate owner is the same, ie the Government, there can be no sale. Tony Pua can't accuse the Government of selling land to iself or, for that matter, buying land from itself.
|Sg Besi airbase land still belongs to the Government of Malaysia|
It is an easy-to-understand concept. And there is nothing secretive about 1MDB's sole shareholder – the Government of Malaysia – intending for such development to be undertaken by a Master Developer with the dynamism of the private sector and yet owned and controlled by the Government.
Misconception #2: That RM1.6 billion was the meagre sum 1MDB paid the Government.
Where did he pluck this figure from? If the MP cares to check the Hansard, the RM1.6 billion is what 1MDB will pay to relocate and develop nine new relocation sites for RMAF, Police Air Wing and the 31st Artillery currently in the Sungai Besi air base. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek stated this when replying to points raised in the Budget winding up at committee stage in Dewan Rakyat on 3 Nov 2011.
“ ... ini merupakan perkongsian kos yang akan ditanggung oleh 1MDB dan juga Kerajaan Malaysia untuk membangunkan kawasan Sungai Besi. Kos awalnya ialah dari segi memindahkan operasi TUDM dan juga Polis Udara daripada kawasan tersebut kepada kawasan-kawasan lain.
"Perkongsian kos adalah sebanyak RM1.1 bilion yang akan ditanggung oleh kerajaan dan RM1.6 bilion ditanggung 1MDB dan RM1.1 bilion inilah merupakan pecahan untuk beberapa tahun, RM400 (juta) untuk tahun 2012 dan 400 lagi – jadi tidak harus dilihat sebagai suntikan kepada modal."
Misconception #3: No open tender for the Sungai Besi land.
As I've explained, the land was an outright transfer within the Government. From then on, as blogged by the PM, there will be an open process.
Did Tony Pua miss the blog? Did he also miss the announcement by the Malaysian Institute of Planners? MIP is organising an independent international competition to design a Bandar Malaysia that can be the future model for sustainability and liveability. The competition is governed by the best global practice in every aspect including transparency and key criteria will include value creation for a better living environment and sustainability.
The Sungai Besi served the country well. It was our first international airport that led to the growth of several industries, aviation, travel, tourism and hospitality. It later became the birthplace of the Royal Malaysian Air Force when Malaysians protected the country’s airspace.
For a national project as game changing as Bandar Malaysia, it is only logical for the Government maintains ownership and control through its fully owned 1MDB.
Coming soon: Tony's airport dream