Malaysia's $2.4b project with China Railway falls through

A 2019 photo of then Premier Mahathir Mohamad and other Malaysian officials looking at a model of the Bandar Malaysia development.
A 2019 photo of then Premier Mahathir Mohamad and other Malaysian officials looking at a model of the Bandar Malaysia development.PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR • An equity deal for a planned mega project near Malaysia's capital involving the government, developer Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and its Chinese partner will not proceed by mutual agreement, the parties said in a joint statement.

The agreement on a RM7.41 billion (S$2.4 billion) acquisition for 60 per cent equity in the Bandar Malaysia mixed commercial project by IWH and its partner China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) lapsed on May 6, after a failure to meet conditions, according to the statement issued on Wednesday.

Bandar Malaysia was due to house the terminal for the now-scrapped high-speed rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The Bandar Malaysia project was originally a deal struck by then Prime Minister Najib Razak to ease the debt burden of scandal-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), but collapsed in May 2017 over payment disputes.

Bandar Malaysia, owned by TRX City, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance, was initially announced in 2011, cancelled in 2017 and reinstated in April, 2019. The statement said the parties had been working to find solutions to preserve the partnership.

"Despite such efforts, to-date, the parties have not been able to mutually agree to the terms of the extension," it said.

IWH-CREC, the developer in the joint venture, had paid a RM1.24 billion deposit and advance to the government last year to allow them to start work on Bandar Malaysia.

That go-ahead prompted IWH to make plans for a listing in the first half of this year to raise at least RM5 billion.

TRX City said it remained committed to the project, and that "any future business and commercialisation plans will take into account market conditions and the national socio-economic agenda".

China Railway Group will continue to work closely with TRX City in any future cooperation in the country, the statement said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2021, with the headline 'Malaysia's $2.4b project with China Railway falls through'. Subscribe