Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who has been on the warpath against the opposition, has now trained his guns on Treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah in the wake of the latter’s appointment as chairperson of TRX City Sdn Bhd and Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
The blogger’s vitriolic article on Irwan prompted speculation if Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s advisors are at odds with one another.
Despite reservations regarding the veracity of Raja Petra’s allegations, especially the more scandalous ones, PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli however believes the article indicated that there is competition among the premier’s key advisors on Bandar Malaysia.
“Clearly those who are Raja Petra’s benefactors are not happy with Irwan’s clout in dealing with the restructuring of 1MDB’s debts with regard to Bandar Malaysia,” he told Malaysiakini.
Rafizi said he considered Raja Petra to be the mouthpiece of a shadowy group of advisors around Najib.
“So when Raja Petra attacked Irwan so viciously, my assessment is this is about one group of advisors against another group, both are influential around Najib,” he added.
In the article titled “Irwan and the Wanda deal”, Raja Petra claimed that it was the treasury-general who leaked information to a news portal about the removal of 1MDB president Arul Kanda as chairperson of Bandar Malaysia and a board member of TRX City.
“To most this came as a surprise because Arul had done a good job over the last two years in turning around 1MDB and bringing it back to profitability and viability,” he said.
Raja Petra alleged that Irwan wanted to orchestrate another deal and Arul was an obstacle, who needed to be removed.
He also questioned the reason cited for Arul’s removal from Bandar Malaysia and TRX City, which was “potential conflicts of interest”.
“What was Arul’s so-called ‘potential conflicts of interest’? ‘Potential conflicts of interest’ is actually a lame excuse and a farce,” he said.
The truth, alleged Raja Petra, was that Irwan wanted to derail the deal with The Iskandar Waterfront Holdings and China Rail Engineering Corp (IWH-CREC) consortium so that he could give it to the Dalian Wanda-Malton group instead.
Raja Petra also cautioned Najib about giving important tasks to certain people.
“And if Najib is not careful this Bandar Malaysia-TRX matter might turn into a second disaster after 1MDB in 2014. Just as Arul finished cleaning up 1MDB and turned it back to profitability and viability, we are beginning to see another disaster looming over the horizon,” he added.
How will Irwan respond to the attack?
Meanwhile, Rafizi said it would be interesting to see how Irwan responds to this attack, adding that it was similar to Raja Petra’s accusation that the PKR vice-president received money from businessman John Soh and was “enjoying with a harem of young boys.”
“The best way for Irwan to respond is to quickly come up with a statutory declaration denying everything and stating the truth as I immediately did 24 hours after Raja Petra accused me of receiving money from John Soh.
“More importantly, Irwan has to clear the confusion about what is really happening behind the scene wth regards to Bandar Malaysia because it is public money and we end up paying for it
“I am amused at all this because in spite of Najib’s confident attitude that he is in full control, clearly all is not well in the house,” he added.
Malaysiakini has contacted Irwan for comment, but has yet to receive a response.
On May 3,TRX City, which is owned by the Ministry of Finance, announced that the share sale agreement (SSA) entered into on Dec 31, 2015 with IWH-CREC on Bandar Malaysia had lapsed.
“This is because, despite repeated extensions being granted, IWH-CREC failed to meet the payment obligations outlined in the conditions precedent under the SSA.
“As a result, the share sale agreement between the parties stands null and void with immediate effect,” it had said.
IWH-CREC claimed that TRX did not reveal all the details, and was consulting its lawyers over the matter.
Almost immediately after the cancellation, Najib began “courting” China’s Dalian Wanda group – China’s biggest property developer – as a potential investor for Bandar Malaysia.
However, following Najib’s recent visit to Beijing, it was reported that IWH-CREC might play a role in the Bandar Malaysia project.
According to Star Online, which quoted a source, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang told Najib that China hopes the deal on Bandar Malaysia would remain unchanged, and Najib might have to take the Chinese wishes into consideration.