Malaysia

Selangor government to table Talam white paper tomorrow

By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor

November 19, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 – The Selangor government hopes to finally settle the score with MCA tomorrow after it tables the highly-awaited white paper on the Talam Corporation debt restructuring agreement, a deal that MCA once labelled a RM 1 billion bailout scandal.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (picture), who will release the white paper during the state legislative assembly sitting here, said today that that the document will reveal the full details of the state’s 2010 agreement with the troubled property developer.

“I am confident the people will finally see whose lies will be exposed,” he said in his Budget 2013 at the state assembly this morning.

MCA Young Professionals Bureau chairman Datuk Chua Tee Yong had recently alleged of funds abuse by the Selangor government, claiming that Khalid’s administration had bought over Talam Corp’s RM676 million assets to clear the firm’s outstanding debts of RM392 million to three state subsidiaries.

He further claimed that the RM392 million in the supplementary budget approved by the state assembly in November 2010 to Mentri Besar Incorporated (MBI) was used by the state government for the alleged bailout.

But in retaliation, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers have denied this and called out Chua for his allegedly “stupid blunder”, claiming that instead of bailing out Talam Corp, the state government had only restructured the firm’s debts to ensure the monies were reclaimed in full.

“However, to me, what is more important is the lesson we should learn from this issue on Talam.

“However many times we have explained what happened, there are still those among us who failed to understand... or refused to understand.

“What more when there are malicious elements forever working to confuse the people,” Khalid said today in his speech.

“The question is – how did it come to this?” the first-term mentri besar asked.

“My answer – this is the result of 50 years under Barisan Nasional’s (BN) rule,” he said.

In the state government’s previous replies on the issue, it was explained that Talam Corp’s RM392 million debt to three state subsidiaries had originally been incurred during Barisan Nasional’s (BN) reign in the state and was considered a “hidden debt” as it was never recorded in the three firms’ books.

Talam Corp, now known as Trinity Corporation Berhad, had then owed Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and Permodalan Nasional Selangor Berhad (PNSB) RM277 million as well as SAP Holdings — a subsidiary of listed company Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Berhad (KHSB) — RM115 million, for a total of RM392 million.

But after the state government fell to PR in Election 2008, the “hidden debts” were later “uncovered” and the state moved immediately to recover the monies owed by Talam Corp, instead of bailing out the firm as claimed by Chua.

The state government, through the state assembly, had in November 2010 appointed Mentri Besar Incorporated (MBI) to handle the collection of the RM392 million owed by the troubled property developer.

This ultimately made the MBI the point man to chase Talam Corp for the debts.

After months of negotiations, Talam Corp finally agreed to a full repayment of the RM392 million to MBI in the form of cash and assets in two tranches — one on March 12, 2010 and the second, a month later on April 9.

According to state lawmakers, all settlement deals were fully disclosed to Bursa Malaysia and made publicly available on the bourse’s website.