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Friday, January 2, 2009

EPF eyes prime govt land in Klang Valley

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) plans to bid for the government's prime land in the Klang Valley as it seeks to boost its property investment and improve returns to its members, a senior official said.

The pension fund, which manages some RM332.4 billion currently, has invested only one per cent of its total in properties so far and it is keen for more.

"Of course we'll be interested. We are in a position to consider big tracts of land," Johari Abdul Muid, the deputy chief executive officer for investment, told Business Times and Berita Harian in an interview recently.

On November 4 2008, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that companies will be allowed to develop government land under an open tender system.
It is part of the government's plan to raise funds and boost a slowing economy.

The centrepiece asset is the 1,600ha owned by the Rubber Research Institute Malaysia in Sungai Buloh, Selangor. The land is located next to the thriving Kota Damansara area.

Other possible areas for development include land in Jalan Cochrane and Jalan Ampang Hilir, which is also strategic as it is close to the Petronas Twin Towers.

The EPF can invest up to three per cent of its funds, or some RM10 billion, in properties like buildings or even land. It has invested about RM3.3 billion or one per cent, so far, Johari said.

"We have, in our normal presentation of investment (to the government), said that we are a bit short from the property perspective," he said, adding that the EPF will follow the government's decision. This means that if the land is auctioned, it will bid for them.

He explained that the EPF can buy the land on its own and then develop it in partnership with property companies.

Details of the government's plans with the land are being finalised by the Economic Planning Unit.

By Business Times

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