City Hall says it's 'Pak Lah's house', but Land Office and PM's Department say they know nothing
Masami Mustaza - Thursday, December 17th, 2009
KUALA LUMPUR: Is this or is this not the RM12 million mansion allegedly being built for former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi?
While City Hall and the Public Works Department have "confirmed" that the massive project at Lot 65, Seksyen 60, Persiaran Mahameru — near Carcosa Seri Negara, right next to the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter Terrorism (SEARCCT) — is for the former premier, its status remains very much a mystery as the Federal Territory Land Office as well as the Prime Minister's Department, ironically the project owner, denied any knowledge of such a project.
When The Malay Mail checked with City Hall's Town Planning Department, a staff, who declined to be identified, claimed that the project was for "Pak Lah's house".
Our checks revealed that the project owner is the Prime Minister's Department. A development order for the project was issued on June 24 with the Public Works Department (PWD) named as developer and Aqidea Architect, the architect.
It was learnt that based on the completed work, it could be a one-and-a-half storey bungalow together with an external building.
A senior PWD officer, when contacted by The Malay Mail, was surprised when asked if the mystery bungalow was being built by the government for Abdullah.
"Even within the PWD, very few people know about it," said the officer, who declined to provide further details.
A check with the FT Land Office revealed that the land, which has freehold status, belongs to the Federal Land Commission with the quit rent set at RM10.
An officer claimed he did not know anything about the project but added that records showed that the land was being utilised "for the purpose of building a palace".
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong replied in an email that he did not have "personal knowledge" of the project.
Yesterday, Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar tried to get the issue debated in Parliament but failed.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung had said that his ministry was not aware of the project's existence and that he would provide a written answer on the matter.
Mahfuz had been quoted by a political party's newsletter as saying that the project for Abdullah's home allegedly costs RM12 million.
The vocal Pas deputy president had claimed that this was kept secret because there was no allocation for it in both the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the 2010 Budget.
He had also claimed that the project had been allegedly awarded to TRC Corporation, which he claimed also built the submarine base in Sabah worth more than RM400 million.
The Malay Mail's visit to the site revealed that there were two security guards manning an outpost at the site, measuring roughly 1,500 sq metres, surrounded by a 2m-high wall and cordoned off with a high metal gate.
There was no signage on what was exactly being built, but a plaque bearing the numbers "JKR 551" hints that this may possibly be a government-related project.
Secluded and flanked by lush greenery, the view from the site is that of the Le Meridien and KL Hilton hotels at KL Sentral.
Passers-by can't see much beyond the gate and surrounding walls — just a huge mound of sand and construction workers milling about, providing the only clues that construction was taking place.