MoF confirms removal of Arul Kanda

PETALING JAYA: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) yesterday confirmed the removal of Arul Kanda Kandasamy as chairman of Bandar Malaysia and stated that the board of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will continue to manage the project.

“Apart from the removal of Arul Kanda as (Bandar Malaysia) chairman, the 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s board and Prime Minister’s Office will continue to manage the issues in respect of Bandar Malaysia directly with the parties concerned,” Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said in a statement yesterday, addressing a foreign news report alleging the removal of Johari and Arul from the Budiman Committee. The committee had been set up in 2015 to execute the rationalisation of 1MDB.

In denying the report, Johari clarified that the Budiman Committee had executed its functions, which included disposal of 1MDB’s power assets to China’s CGN Group – reactivating the development of TRX which is currently in various stages of development; concluding the international bidding exercise in respect of Bandar Malaysia; and pursue the arbitration between IPIC and 1MDB to resolve the dispute over the US$3.5 billion (RM15.2 billion) payment made by 1MDB to IPIC Group.

“All of these four assignments have been completed and the Budiman Committee no longer had any functions to execute since then. In fact, there has been no meeting for the past six months. Therefore, any reports which state that members of the Budiman Committee have been relieved of their duties are simply erroneous and maliciously misleading,” said Johari.

He added that the recent settlement arrangement entered between 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and the current dispute between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd and China Railway Engineering Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd (IWH-CREC) over the Bandar Malaysia project are being handled directly by the PMO and 1MDB’s board.

No mention was made of Arul’s position on the board of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).

Arul however had recently pointed out that the Finance Ministry’s acquisition of the real estate assets of Bandar Malaysia and TRX on March 31, gives it the right to appoint new directors to the companies.