The Ministry of Finance must come clean on 1MDB president Arul Kanda’ sudden removal from key positions in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd and TRX City Sdn Bhd, said a DAP lawmaker.
According to Tony Pua, Arul’s removal from the two entities was “a big, big thing”.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP questioned the removal, saying Arul was integral to the deal signed between Bandar Malaysia and Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) with the China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) consortium.
Pua said there are now queries about Arul’s alleged conflict of interest in the matter.
“What is the conflict of interest involved? He was removed from the two companies just two days after the collapse of the Bandar Malaysia-IWH-CERC deal. It cannot be a coincidence,” he told a press conference after speaking at the “1MDB scandal: What next?” forum in Penang last night.
Contacted today, Pua said he wanted Arul to reveal the “real reasons” behind his removal.
“If he does not explain about his removal, or about any conflict of interest involved, it will raise suspicion,” he added.
Removal raised eyebrows
Arul had said that his removal from the two entities was the prerogative of Minister of Finance Inc (MOF Inc), the new owner of both Bandar Malaysia and TRX City.
However, a source claimed that Arul Kanda was not informed about the termination of the RM7.41 billion deal although he was a board member of both companies.
The collapse of the Bandar Malaysia deal came as a shock among the business circles because it was so sudden, and with the deal having been inked with much fanfare back in 2015.
Situated where the former Sungai Besi airport used to be, the project was slated to house a transport hub and a digital free trade zone.
Prime Minister Najib Razak cancelled his trip to the site unannounced, while TRX City, the landowner, declared that the deal with the IWH-CREC consortium was off.
TRX City said the consortium did not meet payment obligations for its 60 percent stake – a claim that the consortium disputed.
1MDB had earlier bought the prime land from the federal government at a low price and marketed it as Bandar Malaysia and Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).
The troubled state firm had attempted to divest its assets, including Bandar Malaysia, as a means of settling billions of ringgit in outstanding debts.