Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s family-owned business, CMS Land Sdn Bhd, was given 275 acres of land in the Isthmus, eight km from Kuching, in 1998 and “to make the land more valuable”, the government built the Borneo Convention Centre (picture).
Revealing details of yet another “huge” land scandal in the Isthmus, Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said: “CMS Land came into possession of 275 acres of land at the Isthmus in 1998 after it completed constructing a barrage under the Sarawak River Regulation Scheme.
“The government alienated the land as payment in kind for the construction of the barrage which cost RM150 million.
“In order to make the land more valuable, the government then built the Borneo Convention Centre (BCCK), which occupied a few acres of the land.
“The contract for the construction of BCCK which was worth RM200 million was given to CMS.
“After it was completed, BCCK was looked after by a management company whose directors are Taib’s sister Raziah and his son, Abu Bekir.”
But because BCCK alone would not boost the value of the land and its surroundings much, they roped in the Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (Sesco).
According to Chong, Sesco decided to build its second headquarters in the Isthmus in a two-acre site which it bought for RM10 million from CMS Land.
“Even in the centre of Kuching, we don’t have that price tag of RM5 million for an acre of land.
“As if that is not enough, the government started to build the second bridge from Kuching Port Authority to connect to the Isthmus so that there will be more outlets.
“The bridge was estimated to cost RM200 million, ” he said.
10 million new shares
Chong pointed out that it was now increasing obvious that the whole development “benefited” only Taib’s family.
“You can see the whole development including infrastructural development and buildings benefit one family, the chief minister’s family.
“I think this is not right, because the people pay taxes and they pay Sesco bills. The revenue to the state coffers should not be used to benefit one family,” he said.
Last year, CMS Land entered into a joint venture with Premier Cottage Sdn Bhd, Boulevard Jaya Corporation, Hikmat Majusama Sdn Bhd and Isthmus Development Sdn Bhd to build, own and manage a four-star hotel and serviced apartments on the Isthmus.
It was reported that as part of the agreement, CMS Land would inject two parcels of vacant land located on the Isthmus totalling about 10.5 acres to Isthmus Developments for RM10 million.
This is to be satisfied via the issuance of 10 million new shares in Isthmus Development.
Thus, CMS Land would maintain an eventual shareholding equivalent to 10.3 percent in Isthmus Development.
The proposed project would comprise a four-star hotel with 381 rooms and 96 serviced apartments.
The total cost of the hotel including outfitting, furniture, fittings and equipment, but excluding financing costs and contingencies, is estimated to be RM380 million.
In addition to the hotel, current development includes a marina jetty, commercial and residential development and tertiary educational institutions.
There are plans to further develop the Isthmus into a vibrant commercial hub and satellite city of Kuching.
This is in line with the CMS group’s plan to expand its property arm.