Manila Standard Today, Saturday, June 9, 2011
A GOVERNMENT-backed Malaysian developer has emerged as the proponent of the redevelopment of the Philippine Navy headquarters along Roxas Boulevard that President Aquino announced in his State-of-the-Nation Address last year.
According to a Philippine Navy briefing paper, no less than Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Bin Hamidi wrote Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to push the proposal of Malaysian Resources Corp. Berhad to award the lease not only of the Navy headquarters but also of the Sangley naval base.
The Malaysian defense minister, in his letter to Gazmin in January this year, proposed that the Roxas Boulevard and Sangley redevelopment be pursued “through a government-to-government arrangement under the ambit of the RP-Malaysia Defense Cooperation,” the Navy briefing paper said.
The Malaysian developers want to turn the Navy headquarters into a mixed-use development and build a bigger shipbuilding yard out of the Sangley base in Cavite.
Contrary to Mr. Aquino’s pronouncement that the proponent was willing to pay $100 million to lease the Navy property, a Malaysian delegation said their proposal offered no such payment and was instead based on profit-sharing.
According to the Navy briefing paper, Gazmin in turn told the Malaysian delegation that the Finance Department was “not supportive” of their proposal.
It wasn’t clear what the Finance Department’s objections were to the Malaysian proposal, which turned out to have been substituted from a Singapore-led consortium, First Link, when the first unsolicited proposal was submitted to the Philippine Navy in April 2010.