Ahead of anniversary, FT minister touts RM481m in public fund savings as largest feather in cap

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad speaks to reporters in Putrajaya April 22, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad speaks to reporters in Putrajaya April 22, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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PUTRAJAYA, April 22 — Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad said the review of dubious land deals that ultimately saved RM481 million in public funds was the pride of his time so far in the Pakatan Harapan administration nearing one year in power.

In an interview today, the Shah Alam MP said the funds were rescued when his ministry re-examined 97 lands deals within Kuala Lumpur were signed by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

Of these, 14 were cancelled, 15 renegotiated, and five litigated before reaching out-of-court settlements.

All in, RM481 million in foregone value was saved.

This was on top of the RM210 million that was received from the remaining 43 deals that his ministry approved, he added.

“We have managed to make potential savings and even cut out losses through this negotiations,” he said.

Another major achievement Khalid cited was the formation of the Federal Territories Consultative Council.

Aimed at including elected representatives in the decision-making process for the capital, the council includes senior Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officials along with 11 of the city’s federal lawmakers.

“As Kuala Lumpur does not have a state government, the council acts as a replacement in that manner, allowing the people’s voices to be heard through their elected representatives.

“Although I pity the MPs whose jobs mostly cover nationals issues, but with the council, they have to take up a dual role of thinking about the way forward for the city too,” he said.

With the diverse representation in the council, the minister also hopes this would allay fears and concerns that local council elections would end up benefiting any ethnic group over the others, saying instead these would let more voices be heard.

On the city’s development, Khalid explained that DBKL and his ministry was looking at ways to alleviate traffic congestion in the city, with one immediate measure being to hire a consultant in August this year to remedy the situation.

“When I took over, I was unable to find who had planned out the traffic plan for the city. I asked yet no one can seem to give me a definitive answer and it seem the plan was done in random or perhaps even suggestions from private enterprises.

“So we mad a decision to hire a consultant to conduct research on how to tackle the issue of road congestion in the city,” he said.

Khalid also said he intends to gazette the Kuala Lumpur City Plan (KLCP) 2040 by the end of 2020. This plan will lay out the development policies for the capital until 2040

Acknowledging previous criticism for gazetting the KLCP 2020, he said it had been “peculiar” for him to do so as the plan was criticised as being to development focussed.

However, he said he still had to do so in order to manage the city’s development until a new KLCP is gazetted.

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