KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is still in negotiations for a master developer for its ambitious Bandar Malaysia project, Treasury Secretary-General for Malaysia's Finance Ministry Irwan Serigar told Channel NewsAsia in an interview on Tuesday (Dec 12).
Bandar Malaysia is set to house a terminus for the Kuala Lumpur - Singapore High Speed Rail once the rail operations commence in 2026.
"When the time comes I'll come to the press ... because we are still negotiating," said Irwan, who chairs the Bandar Malaysia board.
Malaysia said it was accepting proposals for a new master developer from July 5 after terminating a US$1.7 billion deal in May with a China Railway consortium to develop the major property project.
In August, Irwan said that six companies had expressed interest and proposals were due by the end of that month.
Opposition MP Tony Pua had last month alleged that the government was stalling its announcement of a master developer, suggesting it had run into difficulties due to the "astronomical" asking price.
In June, Malaysia's Ministry of Finance laid out criteria for its new partner to be an affiliate of a Fortune 500 company "to ensure financial strength", an affiliate of a company "which has generated cumulatively last three years no less than RM50 billion in revenue from the entire value chain of real estate and associated businesses", and a company with "experience in international quality real estate development projects".
"The Proposer must be able to demonstrate how their proposal focuses and places emphasis on the key themes of serving people and the national interest of Malaysia," it had said in a statement then.
Malaysian Finance Ministry-owned TRX City had terminated its agreement with China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) and Iskandar Waterfront Holding in May on the basis that it "failed to meet payment obligations outlined in the Conditions Precedent'.
This has been disputed by the consortium, which had agreed to buy a 60 per cent stake in the project originally being developed by scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in 2015.
However, after the collapse of the deal, Malaysia said it would be retaining 100 per cent ownership of Bandar Malaysia .
Prime Minister Najib Razak earlier said that given the importance of the project, it is critical that Bandar Malaysia has the right leadership, the right partners and the right ownership structure to ensure that its full potential is realised.