By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders questioned today the logic behind another convention centre when the existing RM600 million Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) is still under-utilised.
“It was built at the cost of RM600 million, fully paid for by the government, and today it is collecting RM2.5 million to less than RM3 million rental annually. It will take 300 years to recoup the cost assuming zero maintenance,” Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong (picture) told reporters in Parliament.
The proposed RM628 million Matrade centre, to be built on a 13.1-acre site in Jalan Duta here, is to be developed by Naza TTDI, a unit of the Naza Group.
In the building-for-land deal, Naza TTDI will build the centre in exchange for 65 acres of state land at RM226 psf even though the market value of the land could reach RM1.5 billion. The entire project will have a gross development value of RM15 billion.
"Does the government need to give Naza TDDI a very good deal at the expense of Malaysians for another convention centre which I think we do not need at this moment.
“I think if there is any need for any convention centre, it should be fully built by public venture without the government backing it,” he added.
Liew also questioned why there was no open tender for the project.
“I think in the second stimulus package, the finance minister and prime minister mentioned about open tenders.
“So my question is why wasn’t there any open tender?” he asked.
Apart from the PICC, there are a few other trade and convention centres in the Klang Valley including the KL Convention Centre, Putra World Trade Centre and the Mines Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Most trade centres in the country hold some 30 events a year.