THE Government has defended the Malaysia External Trade Deve-lopment Corp’s (Matrade) 25.2ha land swap deal with Naza Group for a RM628mil expo centre as being “value for money”.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said Matrade would have in return a centre measuring some 90,000 square metres, which would be the largest in the country.
“Matrade is in dire need of a large space for exhibition and expo purposes as it organises at least 10 such events in a year,” he said when replying to points raised during debate on the Budget at committee stage.
The current size of the Matrade exhibition and convention centre is 13,000 square metres.
“The size of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is 9,710 square metres while that of Putra World Trade Centre is at 23,504 square metres. In addition to the Matrade exhibition centre, the combined size for exhibition is only 46,241 square metres,” he said, adding that Matrade would get the centre for “free”.
The deal had earlier been questioned by Opposition MPs Lim Kit Siang (DAP — Ipoh Timur), Tony Pua (DAP — Petaling Jaya Utara) and Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Ind — Pasir Mas).
Mustapa said Naza TTDI had proposed the deal in March 2007 and the Cabinet approved it in December of the same year as a project to be undertaken by private financing initiative.
Under the deal, construction of the new expo centre in Jalan Duta would also see hotels, apartments, office, condominiums and parking facilities, making the area a new metropolis in the city after KLCC.
“The land given to Naza TTDI was valued at RM197mil two years ago and in return, Matrade will have its new centre by 2014, valued at RM628mil.