KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government has properties abroad worth RM3.59bil and these are managed by the Foreign Ministry.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar who replied to a question in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday on behalf of the Foreign Ministry, said some of the assets were acquired soon after the country achieved independence.
"Overall, the assets were purchased for about RM578.5 million in the open market and also through the land allocation arrangements between the Malaysian government and the foreign governments such as that allocated by the Turkish government in 2007.
"As our assets are located in different countries, sometimes it is difficult to know their exact value. However, based on reports from Malaysia's diplomatic missions abroad, the current worth is estimated at RM3.59 billion according to the market value," he said in reply to a question from Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut).
Syed Hamid said the government now had 32 chancery buildings, 33 official residences for Malaysia's heads of mission and 189 apartment units in 43 countries.
He said the purchase of properties abroad was important to enable the heads of mission to operate from the government's own buildings and to lessen costs in the long run if the government were to rent premises, hence avoiding a huge monetary outflow from Malaysia.
Syed Hamid said it was the government's strategy through budget planning under the five-year development plans to avoid incurring high management costs, including for Malaysia's missions abroad, while these governmentowned assets would also help enhance Malaysia's image abroad.
To Lim's supplementary question as to whether a committee would be set up to oversee these assets, Syed Hamid said the Foreign Ministry would evaluate and decide on the proposals made by Malaysia's representatives abroad.
"After the ministry has made its evaluation, the Treasury will then do the same, taking into consideration the views of the Public Works Department, whether the property to be bought is suitable or worth the price offered," he said. - Bernama
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