What are the Tans up to? (UPDATED with Chinese Translation)

According to those close to Umno, this ‘vote of confidence’ by the Tan Brothers is proof that MCA is finished. The Tans, because of their very close association with Dr Mahathir, must know that MCA is going to be completely wiped out come November. So they can discount MCA and start working with Pakatan Rakyat, which is going to be the government in Selangor and Penang for some time to come.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

It is interesting to note that Danny Tan is making inroads in Selangor while Vincent Tan is returning to Penang after a 20-year absence from the state. And what is even more interesting is to see the Tans praise the Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Selangor and Penang.

To the Tans, this is merely business. Their RM850 million acquisitions will translate to RM4 billion worth of development projects. So it is all about making money, the thing closest to the hearts of the Tans. But to the Barisan Nasional politicians, especially to those in MCA, this is not just about making money. They are reading more into this exercise.

MCA is feeling rather worried. The MCA leaders smell a rat. This appears to be more than just about making money. This is about the Tans giving the Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Selangor and Penang what can be interpreted as a vote of confidence.

If, as many say, Barisan Nasional is going to grab back Selangor and Penang in the next general election expected on 11 November 2011 (11.11.11), soon after the October budget, why would the Tans want to do a deal with the Pakatan Rakyat state governments? The election is only three months away. Why not wait until Barisan Nasional kicks out Pakatan Rakyat and then make a deal with the new Barisan Nasional state governments? Why make a deal with the Pakatan Rakyat state governments just to see the government change even before the projects can get off the ground?

That is the question the MCA leaders are asking. And the fact that the Tans are seen as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘boys’ makes this question even more relevant.

The MCA leaders feel they know the answer. And the answer is because the Tans think that Barisan Nasional is not going to grab back Selangor and Penang. Pakatan Rakyat is going to retain Selangor and Penang. And that is why, say the MCA leaders, the Tans are making deals with the Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Selangor and Penang.

A most interesting hypothesis indeed. Knowing that the Tans only make deals with those in power and not otherwise, this theory can be considered very sound and would make sense.

Say what you like, the Tans have a nose for smelling out power. They can smell power like the blue-arse fly can smell fresh shit. And if the Tans are prepared to make deals with the Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Selangor and Penang, then this can only mean that this is because Pakatan Rakyat is going to continue to rule Selangor and Penang come the next general election.

According to those close to Umno, this ‘vote of confidence’ by the Tan Brothers is proof that MCA is finished. The Tans, because of their very close association with Dr Mahathir, must know that MCA is going to be completely wiped out come November. So they can discount MCA and start working with Pakatan Rakyat, which is going to be the government in Selangor and Penang for some time to come. And if MCA is dead and buried, then Barisan Nasional can’t possibly take back Selangor and Penang, two states that depend on Chinese votes, because Umno, on its own, and depending just on Malay votes, can’t win states like Selangor and Penang.

MCA is also worried about one other thing. They are worried that once MCA is buried, DAP will emerge as the legitimate party to represent Chinese interests. And Barisan Nasional may invite DAP to become a component member of the ruling coalition like what happened to Gerakan soon after 1969.

That makes sense. The Sarawak state election has proven that DAP has the support of the Chinese. So, if MCA is killed off and DAP emerges as the party representing Chinese interests, then Umno will have to make a deal with DAP. And with DAP in Barisan Nasional, Umno does not need MCA or Gerakan.

All eyes are on PAS, watching whether that party will accept Umno’s offer to form a unity government. Umno, however, realises that this is not going to happen. So they might as well not waste any more time with PAS. But while all eyes are on PAS, it may be DAP instead that Umno courts to join Barisan Nasional to make this unity government a reality.

We can pooh-pooh the idea and say that DAP will never join Barisan Nasional in a million years. But that does not stop Umno from thinking about it. And that also does not stop MCA from worrying about it. After all, in politics anything is possible and anything can happen.

It would not be impossible for the Tan Brothers to play the role of Dr Mahathir’s emissary and act as the bridge between DAP and Umno. DAP is a realistic and practical party. With so many problems being faced by Pakatan Rakyat, in particular the ding-donging of PAS and the personal problems of Anwar Ibrahim, it appears like DAP is the only solid party in the opposition coalition. And this makes DAP a prize catch, especially with the possible demise of MCA and Gerakan.

So stay tuned and watch the hands of the Tan Brothers. Is this deal in Selangor and Penang only about business and only about making money? Or is it about “lets start with business and see whether it can extend to other things later”?

In the meantime, MCA is biting its nails and praying that this is not the beginning of the end for them. But with the PKFZ case about to become very embarrassing, this may not be that possible.

Dr Mahathir is going to have to decide whether he wants to clear his name or try to save MCA. If Dr Mahathir says he was not aware of what was happening and did not endorse the shenanigans, then MCA is dead because many of its leaders are going to go to jail. However, if Dr Mahathir tries to save MCA by saying he approved of what was happening, then Dr Mahathir will have his head in the noose instead.

The AG may have outdone himself here. We all know he is not the cleverest AG Malaysia has ever had. But he is certainly the most crooked in history. And with the help of the AG we may be seeing the death of either MCA or Dr Mahathir. And most likely Dr Mahathir would rather save his own neck at the expense of MCA’s head.

And because of this the Tan brothers are making deals with the Pakatan Rakyat state governments. They are not going to wait for the government to change because they know it is not going to change. And with the vote of confidence they have given Selangor and Penang, we can assume Barisan Nasional is going to fail in its efforts to grab back these two states, which are the jewels in the crown.


Dijaya to develop RM2.5b worth of projects in Subang

Dijaya Corp Bhd plans to develop properties valued at RM2.5 billion on its newly acquired land in Subang, Selangor.

Tropicana Subang Development Sdn Bhd, a Dijaya subsidiary, purchased four parcels of freehold land measuring 14.5ha from Chunghwa Picture Tubes (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd for RM385.5 million on 9 June.

The property developer plans to convert the land sites at Pekan Country Heights Selangor into a mixed commercial and residential development.

“The residential development consists of condominiums, linked houses, semi-dees and bungalows, while the commercial development will feature retail, shopping mall and office lots as well as serviced apartments,” it said.

“Development within the vicinity still offers an upside in terms of capital appreciation and yield due to the limited supply of sizeable development land that would allow a developer to plan for a comprehensive development.”
Dijaya, which is famous for its flagship Tropicana Golf & Country Resort and Tropicana Indah Resort Homes development in the Klang Valley, said it is always searching for investment opportunities to expand the company’s landbank.

“We will continue to build upon the group’s signature resort-living concept. By following a plan of measured and sensible growth, we can bring our brand values to a wider scope of emerging markets,” said Tan Sri Datuk Danny Tan, Group Chief Executive at Dijaya Corp.


Berjaya Land returns to Penang

After staying away from the Penang property scene for more than 20 years, Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) is returning in a big way. And it is picking up arguably the most controversial piece of real estate on the island to mark its return — a part of the Penang Turf Club (PNTC).

Opposition to an earlier planned redevelopment at PNTC was said to be one of the causes of the downfall of the previous state government.

The PNTC on Tuesday, Aug 16 sold a 57.3-acre (23.2ha) site on its grounds for RM459 million to BLand, which works out to RM184 per sq ft. BLand is said to have made the highest bid for the land parcel, which also saw other developers making equally competitive bids.

Berjaya group chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan said at the signing of the sale and purchase agreement between BLand unit Berjaya Land Development Sdn Bhd and the PNTC that BLand proposed to develop a low-density exclusive guarded and gated housing development comprising bungalows, semi-detached homes, two blocks of 10-storey condominiums and low-cost housing units. The project will have a gross development value of RM1.52 billion.

Tan is excited about his return to the Penang property scene after more than two decades.

“We were active in the property development scene in Penang during the time of the late Tun Lim Chong Eu. After his tenure, we were put off by the state leadership and I decided not to invest in Penang ever again.

“However, now, we have decided to come back here again. If there are any other opportunities, if the price is right and the location is right, we will invest in other projects here. We have every good reason to do so now,” he said.

Tan said he was impressed with the level of cleanliness in Penang and that the state has done very well economically over the past few years, having attained the highest level in terms of investments in the country last year with RM12.2 billion.

He added that with Penang being an attractive location for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme and the strong demand for high-end landed properties in the state, the exclusive residences planned by BLand will further boost the value of the refined suburban housing in the area.

The PNTC borders Jesselton Heights, one of the most exclusive residential areas on Penang island.

The 57.3-acre site sold to BLand forms less than a quarter of the entire 259-acre turf club. The RM459 million paid by BLand is close to the RM488 million that the entire turf club was earlier proposed to be sold for, to privately-held Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd.

At that time, Abad Naluri was 25%-owned by Equine Capital Bhd, a Kuala Lumpur-based developer then helmed by well-connected businessman Patrick Lim.

Abad Naluri had signed an agreement with the PNTC in 2004 and paid an advance of RM10 million to acquire the entire 259 acres. In return, the company was supposed to build an equestrian and race course on a 300-acre site in Batu Kawan, on mainland Penang, for RM375 million, and hand it over to the PNTC by 2007. The balance of RM113 million was to be paid in cash to the club.

The turf club’s 259-acre parcel had included about 60 acres of hill land that cannot be developed. The Abad Naluri deal valued the entire land at about RM43 psf. Based on the net developable land of about 175 acres, however, it worked out to around RM64 psf — a third of what BLand paid.

In 2004, Abad Naluri then planned a controversial RM25 billion development called Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) on the site. The high-density development was vehemently opposed by Penangites. It eventually died a natural death after the 2008 general election which saw the fall of the Gerakan-led Barisan Nasional state government.

Abad Naluri was given an extension of two years by the PNTC to complete the equestrian and race course in Batu Kawan after the initial deadline was not met.

The plans had been previously submitted to the Gerakan-led state government for the PGCC. However, the developer had failed to meet conditions set by the local authorities and was asked to resubmit its plan which it failed to do before the 2008 general election.

As there were no plans resubmitted to the local council under the new state government, the PGCC project failed to take off and Abad Naluri could not embark on the facilities in Batu Kawan.

Under the Penang Island Municipal Council’s (MPPP) guidelines for the area, the proposed density, without taking into account hill land, is six units per acre with a height control of two stories. PGCC’s earlier proposal was 36 units per acre inclusive of hill land and 54 units per acre excluding hill land.

Under the guidelines, the area nearest to Jesselton Heights must only have low-density development and only bungalows must be built. Abad Naluri had reportedly proposed to build almost 7,000 luxury units in 38 towers, including two iconic towers.

It was also reported that Abad Naluri had failed to include the affordable housing policy in the original development plan, and had only proposed to improve the six existing blocks of flats in Rifle Range and build 1,334 low-medium cost units to fulfil its obligations on MPPP-owned land in Rifle Range.

As the deal with Abad Naluri could not be fulfilled, PNTC called for new open tenders, paving the way for BLand’s entry.

Berjaya’s Tan expressed confidence that there would be no controversies arising from the proposed development.

Unlike the PGCC project which had featured two iconic towers each standing 200m high, Tan said this project has no commercial components and only consists of residential units.

“There is no controversy surrounding this project as we are not building high-rise towers and this project is strictly residential.

“We planned this project in accordance to the guidelines given by the authorities and I am confident that this property project will be developed,” Tan said, adding that plans have yet to be submitted to the relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, PNTC operations advisor Robin Rizal P H Tan said there are no plans to relocate the turf club whose operations would not be affected by the project.

However, the proposed sale will affect the club’s existing golf course. Nine of the 18 holes are part of the sale but the balance nine holes will still be maintained by the club.

Translated into Chinese at:  http://ccliew.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_25.html