KUALA LUMPUR: 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has awarded a RM2.1 billion contract to a wholly owned subsidiary of Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) to develop eight sites in the relocation of the various defence units currently located at the old airport in Sungai Besi.LTAT’s wholly owned subsidiary Perbadanan Perwira Harta Malaysia (PPHM) is the turnkey contractor to design and build installations at the eight locations. They include three new sites in Sendayan in Negri Sembilan, Kajang and Subang in Selangor.The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Sungai Besi will be relocated to a new site in Sendayan while the air wing of the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) will move to a new site in Subang. The third new site in Kajang will house the Royal Artillery Regiment.The rest of the sites to be developed for the relocation are in Subang, Kuantan (Pahang), Butterworth (Penang), Ipoh (Perak) and Gong Kedak (Terengganu).According to a statement by 1MDB, the land parcels in Sendayan for the RMAF base and in Subang for the RMP air wing base were recently purchased by 1MDB.The strategic development company will contribute funds for the improvement and upgrading of specialised equipment as part of the relocation exercise.1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Azmar Talib said in a statement as an agency under the Defence Ministry, LTAT is in a strong position to ensure that the relocation process will not jeopardise national security.“They also best understand the needs of the force’s personnel and therefore will be able to ensure that the welfare of the staff and their families is taken care of,” he said.The Sungai Besi airport land is one of the few pieces of real estate left in Kuala Lumpur, which are ripe for major development.Before Subang Airport was opened for operations in 1965, it had served as the country’s main airport since 1952.In July 2011, 1MDB acquired the land from the federal government for the purpose of developing it into Bandar Malaysia. But speculation was rife that several well-connected parties were eyeing the relocation works for a piece of action in developing the land.1MDB said the new facilities are scheduled for completion by September 2016 and construction work on Bandar Malaysia can only start after the new facilities are developed and relocation completed.However, preliminary works have started, including the Bandar Malaysia International Master Plan Design competition which is almost concluded. Recently, there was a change at the helm of 1MDB. Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman is the new managing director and CEO, replacing Datuk Shahrol Azral Halmi, who has moved to head a division in the Performance Management and Delivery Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department. This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 3, 2013.
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