“Ismail Sabri approved Menara KL concession to Hydroshoppe after due consideration”

ALLEGATIONS that there is an unseen hand in the granting of Menara Kuala Lumpur (KL Tower) concession without abiding by procedures and regulations are untrue.

Political and government policy analyst Datuk Saiful Bahar Mohd Arshad said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry and the Public Private Partnership Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department (UKAS) have abided strictly to the selection of little-known Hydroshoppe Sdn Bhd to operate and maintain the KL Tower.

“UKAS has brought the approval paper for the concession to operate and maintain Menara Kuala Lumpur by Hydroshoppe (successful bidder) to (then economic minister) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and then prime minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (for their perusal),” Saiful wrote in a commentary for Malay news portal Suara Merdeka.

Datuk Saiful Bahar Mohd Arshad

“After being given due consideration by PM Ismail Sabri, Hydroshoppe was approved as the successful bidder for the Menara Kuala Lumpur concession. The former communications and multimedia minister (Tan Sri Annuar Musa) does not have any authority to approve the concession.”

Saiful also denied allegation that a female director of Hyroshoppe is a close acquaintance of Annuar.

“In fact, seven companies had bid for the KL Tower concession but two had submitted their tender too late, leaving only five companies to be evaluated by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry and UKAS,” clarified Saiful who did not reveal where he derived his information from.

“Overall, Hydroshoppe has submitted the best proposal to manage and maintain Menara Kuala Lumpur.”

Saiful further pointed to false, defamatory and malicious accusations by “two Facebook account owners and social media cybertroopers”, warning that “I was informed (that) TS Annuar will take legal action against these two FB writers and other parties who have slandered him”.

Earlier in his commentary, Saiful stated that Menara Kuala Lumpur still belongs to the Malaysian Government and was not “quietly sold as accused by some cybertroopers”.

“The issue in question is the operation and maintenance concession of KL Tower to a third party, namely Hydroshoppe Sdn Bhd,” he asserted.

“Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) decided not to renew the concession agreement because the TM subsidiary that operates the KL Tower suffered heavy losses in the business years of 2020, 2021 and 2022, from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.”

On Dec 29, FocusM questioned if TM has short-changed itself by disposing its 100% interest in its subsidiary Menara Kuala Lumpur Sdn Bhd (MKLSB) for a mere RM3.8 mil when the net profit it recorded through concessions and the right to manage the KL Tower was said to be worth as much as RM20 mil in 2019 (2018: RM25 mil).

According to TM’s 3Q FY2022 financial announcement to Bursa Malaysia, the telco group had on Oct 31 completed a share purchase agreement to dispose its 100% interest in MKLSB for RM3.8 mil comprising of cash and the acquirer’s commitment to make good obligations associated to the concession.

Interestingly, the announcement made no mention of the acquirer’s identity, notably whether it was the said financially troubled Hydroshoppe and whether the transaction entailed “10 million shares” as reported by the FocusM on Dec 28.

What is obvious, however, is that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had confirmed on Dec 29 that it is investigating the alleged sale of suspicious shares to the management of Menara Kuala Lumpur.

“MACC will investigate whether there is an element of corruption in the sale of 100% of TM shares in MKLSB to Hydroshoppe in October 2022,” the graft-buster agency pointed out in a media statement.

“So far, MACC has called three witnesses and obtained several documents from related parties to examine. Accordingly, MACC will conduct a detailed and professional investigation from all angles related to this issue.” – Jan 2, 2022

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