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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

KTMB land deal: Did S'pore threaten Najib with Altantuya?


Was Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak “coerced” by Singapore’s secret service into agreeing to the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) land swap deal?

This was the question posed by PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shahrin today.

He believes that Singapore’s secret service may have used photographs of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu with Najib to threaten the premier into sealing a lopsided deal over the KTMB Tanjung Pagar issue.

Badrul Hisham said his suspicions were based on private investigator P Balasubramaniam’s statutory declaration on July 1, 2008.

Balasubramaniam stated in the declaration that Najib was introduced to Altantuya, who was also known as “Aminah”, by his political adviser Abdul Razak Baginda at a diamond exhibition in Singapore.

“It means Najib was in Singapore with Altantuya,” said Badrul Hisham in his blog.

During a three-day visit to Singapore last month, Najib and his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong agreed on key issues involving several areas of dispute which had plagued the two nations.

Topping the list of agreements was the mutual decision to relocate the 78-year-old KTMB’s Tanjung Pagar railway station to Woodlands, and to jointly develop the KTMB land in Singapore to maximise its full potential.

Malaysia will also site its customs, immigrations and railway quarantine services at the Woodlands complex.

Both leaders had agreed to form a Malaysia-Singapore joint company, known as M-S Pte Ltd, before Dec 31 this year to develop the land vacated by KTMB.

The developed KTMB land would in turn be swapped, on the basis of equivalent value of pieces of land in Marina South and Ophir Rochor in Singapore.

A lopsided agreement

A company is to be set up by Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Singapore government's investment arm, Temasek Holdings Ltd, with each holding 60% and 40% equity respectively for the joint development.

"It's almost certain that KTMB’s cost of operations will rise and rents at the Woodland complex, which incidentally is owned by Singapore, will eventually be heavy on KTMB.

“In the end, KTMB will be recording losses just like Pos Malaysia Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd, which are also Khazanah Nasional’s investments," said Badrul Hisham.

"What is happening is that we are getting into an lopsided agreement like that of the water deal we struck with Singapore and where we squandered away our sovereignty,” he added.

Badrul Hisham also took a swipe at Lee’s recent visit to Malaysia, saying that it was almost like a “reminder” to Najib who is being slammed for his land swap deal with Singapore.

“It does not make sense… knowing the depth of trouble and objections Najib is facing in Malaysia over his decision, Lee still came to visit him as if to remind him of something and to ensure Najib sticks by his decision.

“It’s like there is something else binding Najib, knowing that his decision will cost the country financially. Even politically, Najib is already facing severe objections, but he seems unperturbed as if he has no choice," said Badrul Hisham.

“I'm wondering if he is being threatened to agree to the deal. Has Singapore’s secret service compiled a record and are they using it against Najib?”

Badrul Hisham said if his speculations were correct, then Najib should come clean with the truth.

“No matter what the allegations against the prime minister, I trust the people will come forward to defend the sovereignty of the country and will not want him to enter into a one-sided deal with Singapore,” he said.

courtesy of FMT

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