FT Minister dispels ‘myths’ surrounding Taman Rimba Kiara project

Khalid Samad speaks to reporters in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 13, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Khalid Samad speaks to reporters in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 13, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad today maintained that the government could end up paying more than RM150 million to a private developer if they cancelled the Taman Rimba Kiara development project.

This comes after Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said that the amount Khalid had cited was a “mythical” figure.

In a statement he titled: ‘‘The minister and the myth’’, Khalid lambasted detractors who perpetuated the “myth” that he has the power to cancel the project and dictate how much the government should pay as compensation to the developers.

“I am sure the courts will be surprised with this myth. The only way one will know how much one has to pay is to go to court if the estimated amount is disputed. Some expenses you consider not being claimable, such as interest charges on monies earlier paid — and it is no small sum involved — may be considered claimable by the court.

“Yes, I know I mentioned RM150 million. That is based on the list of expenses earlier provided.

“That is an indication while I know full well the courts will decide. It may be less and it may even be more because according to the developer the list is of their direct expenses only,” he said.

Khalid also dispelled another myth that a new government should not honour the previous Government’s commitments, even if the previous administration was mired in “kleptocracy”.

“The best a new government can do is to renegotiate the contracts and with the agreement of the other party or parties, come to a compromise; this compromise being intended to minimise the ‘damage’.

“To some, ‘compromise’ is a dirty word. I sympathise with them. They must find it hard living in the real world,” he said.

He added that despite public opinion that the project is illegal due to the supposed improprieties surrounding the development, it is ultimately up to the courts to decide.

He also lamented that certain quarters have demonised him instead of reviewing the facts of the development project.

“I was told to do my homework in relation to the Taman Rimba Kiara project. I wonder, have they done theirs?

“Do they know how much was the land premium and the development charges paid? Have they asked?

“Do they believe in a myth which says it was all free? I humbly suggest that they should do their homework first before implying I have not done mine,” he said.

Khalid also concluded by asking these detractors to “put your money where your mouth is”, stating that he needs a written commitment that they will help pay all the “imaginary and mythical charges” in the event that courts decide his ministry must pay any damages or compensation for any cancelled agreements, contracts or Development Orders.