Can Penang UMNO Be Trusted On Land Reclamation? (EN/CN)

Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 22.11.2015

Can Penang UMNO Be Trusted On Land Reclamation?

UMNO State Assemblyman for Pulau Betong Muhamad Farid Saad’s motion against land reclamation in the Penang State Assembly on 20.11.2015, shamelessly ignored the previous Penang BN government’s abysmal track record of parcelling out 3,241 acres of land reclamation in contrast to the 60 acres of land reclamation approved by the present state government. Farid’s motion against land reclamation is absurd as it would include land reclamation approvals by the previous BN state government, which Farid as a member of the previous administration had fully supported it.

Farid’s motion had proposed that there should be public feedback on land reclamation, and all new reclamation projects be suspended until a complete detailed environmental impact assessment is conducted as well as any projects which brought negative effects to Penang should be cancelled. Farid’s motion was superfluous because the requirements of public feedback and approval of detailed environmental impact assessment(DEIA) were already a legal necessity under Federal law before any land reclamation can proceed.

Witness the Tanjung Pinang reclamation project by E&O Bhd, which involved a DEIA, exhaustive public hearings and consultations conducted by the Department of Environment and also the Town & Country Planning Department, both which are Federal government agencies. In other words, Farid’s motion was superfluous and brought nothing new in terms of public hearings and consultations or even DEIA, as these are compliance issues already required by Federal laws.

The real sticking point in Farid’s motion is that by postponing or suspending all new reclamation projects, exposes the state government to the risk of paying compensation running into hundreds of millions of ringgit. Farid had refused to address his role as a member of the BN state government that had approved reclamation projects.

Some of the reclaimed land by BN were approved without open tenders at giveaway prices of RM1 per square feet. Of the 3,241 acres of reclamation land approved by the previous BN state government, 744 acres had been reclaimed leaving 2,500 acres to be reclaimed.

Under the present laws of the sanctity of contract, the state government is bound by the land reclamation approvals of the previous BN state government. Any postponement or suspension of the remaining 2,500 acres, especially on those that had already complied with Federal laws on DEIA and public hearings, will likely invite issues of compensation payments. Compensation payments on such large tracts of reclaimed land involves hundreds of millions of ringgit if not more, and may ultimately bankrupt the state government.

To fully cover the state government from having to make compensation payments to suspend land reclamation approved by the previous BN state government, why is there no full indemnity of such payments by the Federal government offered to the state government? If Farid’s motion is passed, it would be patently absurd that the present state government would have to pay compensation to delay land reclamation approved by the BN state government. Any responsible government would not allow itself to be bankrupted in such a manner.

In other words, this motion would allow BN to play the hero in opposing land reclamation and also force the present state government to pay the price for stopping land reclamation approved by the BN state government. Such a devious and slick tactic of playing both sides, is a win-win situation for BN. At once a hero politically for opposing land reclamation and yet at the same time, their crony companies also adequately compensated for any delays or suspension of land reclamation.

How can UMNO be trusted on opposing land reclamation now when Farid refused to account nor apologise for his support for land reclamation when BN was in power? And yet there are some who are entrapped by UMNO’s devious and slick tactic until they are willing to trust that “a leopard can change its spots” forgetting the axiom that “kingdoms may change but not so easily one’s basic character”.

First is DAP Tanjung Bunga ADUN Teh Yee Cheu. Teh broke party ranks and stood with UMNO by voting for the motion. After an emergency meeting following the end of the Penang state Assembly involving all 19 DAP ADUNs, Teh told a press conference that he realised he had made a mistake and apologised to the party. He promised to return to the party and was willing to accept any punishment meted out.

All Penang DAP Assemblypersons are deeply unhappy that a DAP Assemblyman is willing to trust and stand together with UMNO – a first in DAP’s history. Voting in support of UMNO’s motion against his own party is unacceptable and warrants stern disciplinary action. Following Teh’s public admission of committing a mistake and public apology, his matter will then be dealt with through DAP’s internal party mechanism.

The 5 PKR ADUNs who abstained from voting can not be dismissed as an act of a loner, but pre-planned and organised. PKR whip Ong Chin Wen the ADUN for Bukit Tengah told the press that the PKR 5 abstained in accordance to their conscience and that it “reflected the current political situation”.

Does this mean that their own 4PKR ADUNs holding government posts, namely Penang Deputy Speaker Datuk Maktar Shapee, the 3 PKR EXCOs of Deputy Chief Minister 1 Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim and Dr Afif Bahardin, who voted against UMNO’s motion have no conscience? What type of current political situation is he talking about when the UMNO ADUNs had earlier opposed PKR’s motion to ask that imprisoned PKR leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, be given medical treatment of his choice as well as refused to answer to questions relating to the RM2.6 billion donation scandal?

Abstention by the PKR 5, as a BN daily emphasised, is as good as supporting UMNO’s motion and an “act of mutiny from within”. Can the PKR 5 be counted upon as a reliable or dependable partner, ally or member of the Penang state government? This is politically untenable as one can not run with the hares and yet hunt with the wolves. In this regard, we appreciate Dato Salleh Man’s loyal support to the Pakatan Harapan Penang state government even though he remained a PAS member.

Equally disturbing is Ong’s claim that the 5 PKR ADUNs had decided to abstain and duly informed their party leadership. However he refused to say which PKR national leader he had informed. Ong also admitted that the other 4 PKR ADUNs who supported the Penang state government by opposing UMNO’s motion had no knowledge that the PKR 5 intended to abstain. This is a clear sign of dissatisfaction by the PKR 5 or even a mutiny against the 4 PKR ADUNs holding government posts.

If true, this shows that there is a party within a party in PKR, one comprising of those holding government posts and the other comprising backbenchers which appeared to be backed by national PKR leaders. The Penang state government does not intend to meddle into the internal party problems of a party ally and will give PKR time to resolve them before the state government decides how to deal with their preference to trust UMNO more than their own state government.

Finally the people of Penang will decide who they trust more on land reclamation – UMNO or their own state government of Penang.

LIM GUAN ENG

–CN —

槟州首席部长林冠英于2015年11月22日 在槟城乔治市光大发表的声明:

就填海课题,槟州巫统还可以被信任吗?

巫统浮罗勿洞区州议员莫哈末法力在2015年11月20日 的槟州立法议会上提呈的反对填海动议,无耻地忽视槟城前朝国阵政府批准3千241英亩填海面积的“辉煌”记录。与前朝相比,目前的槟州政府仅批准了 60英亩的填海面积。法力的反填海动议是荒谬的,因其动议也涵盖了前朝政府批准的填海计划,而他本身在当时,更是一个全力支持填海计划的立法议员。

法力在动议中建议,在批准任何填海计划,必需经过公共咨询程序,以及在没有进行详细的环境评估报告前,应暂停州内所有新的填海计划,若报告显示填海会出现不良影响,就应该取消这些计划。法力的是项动议根本就是多余的,因为在现有的联宪法下,一切的填海计划都需要通过公共咨询及详细的环境评估报告这两项必备条件。

以东家集团(E&O Bhd)在丹绒斯里槟榔的填海计划为例,此计划已经过详细环境评估报告、由两个联邦政府旗下的部门(即环境局及城市与乡城规划部)举办非常详细的公共咨询。换句话说,法力的动议是多余及没有新意的,因为详细环境评估报告及公共咨询是联邦宪法下的必备的条件。

法力的动议中,最关键之处为推迟或暂停所有新的填海计划,将让州政府面对或需作出高达亿万令吉赔偿的风险。法力作为批准填海计划的国阵政府一员,一直拒绝就其当时的角色作出任何说明。

一些由国阵批准的填海计划,是在没有经过公开招标的情况下,以每平方尺1令吉这近乎免费赠送的价格售出。在前朝国阵所批准的3千241英亩填海面积当中, 744英亩经已完成填海,只剩余2千500英亩的面积有待填海。

在现有的合同法令下,州政府受制于前朝国阵政府所批准的填海计划。若剩余2千500英亩有待填海的填海面积,尤其是已经通过详细环境评估及公共咨询程度的计划,若遇上推迟或暂停,将引致向政府索赔的事项。如此大的填海面积,将涉及巨额的索赔率,牵涉的可是上亿万令吉的赔偿额。这最终会让州政府面对破产。

为何联邦政府没有给予州政府充分的赔偿金保证,以缴付州政府或因暂停前朝国阵政府所批准之填海计划,而可能遭到的索赔?要是法力的动议获得通过,现今的州政府则需因推迟前朝国阵政府所批准的填海计划,遭到索赔。这根本就是荒谬。任何一个负责任的政府,都不会允许他们在这样的情况下破产。
换言之,这项动议将让国阵因反对填海计划成为英雄,并导致现有的州政府因暂停前朝国阵政府所批准之填海计划,而面对高额索赔。国阵借由扮演双面人的狡猾绝招,取得双赢的局面。他们因反对填海计划而变身政治英雄,却也同时让他们的朋党公司因填海计划被暂停,而能够向州政府要求巨额赔偿获利。

法力始终不愿就国阵掌权时其作为政府一员,有份支持填海一事作出交代或道歉,如今巫统却要反对填海计划,试问巫统还能被信任吗?更糟糕的是,一些人掉入巫统所设下的狡猾陷阱中,并选择相信“一只豹可以改变其斑点”,却忘了“江山易改,本性难移”的至理名言。

第一个就是行动党丹绒武雅区州议员郑雨周。郑氏打破了党的团队精神,在巫统提出动议时站在巫统那边,给巫统投下支持票。在槟州立法议会结束后所召开的紧急会议上,共有19名行动党州议员出席。郑雨周在会议后召开记者会,表示他意识到自己犯错,对行动党道歉。他也答应归队,并愿意接受党的处分。

所有的行动党州议员对一名行动党议员创下行动党的历史,选择相信巫统并跟巫统站在一起,而深表不满。投票支持巫统的动议以对付自己的政党是不能被接受的,因此他们要求严厉纪律处分。随着郑雨周公开承认错误并对党作出道歉,他的事件将会通过行动党的内部机制处理。

而公正党5名议员选择弃权不投票,不能被视为是独行侠的行为,反之,这是一场经过预先策划和组织的行为。公正党党鞭、武吉丁雅州议员王敬文对媒体说,5名弃权投票的公正党议员是凭良心来投票,并称这“反映了当前的政治局势”。

难道这代表着公正党本身另4名持有官职但在动议上投反对票的公正党议员,包括槟州立法议会副议长拿督玛达、3名公正党的行政议员,即第一副首席部长拿督拉昔、拿督阿都马烈及阿菲夫医生是没有良心的?这到底是什么当前政治局势啊?早前,巫统州议员还不是驳回了公正党议员提呈、要求让正在监狱受刑的公正党领袖拿督斯里安华可以获得他所选择的医疗之动议? 巫统也拒绝回答26亿令吉捐款丑闻。

正如一家国阵控制的媒体所强调,公正党5名议员弃权,就相等于支持巫统的动议一样,而这也是公正党的“内部兵变”。这5名公正党议员,还能不能被当作是槟州政府可靠、可依赖的合作伙伴、盟友和一员呢?这在政治上是站不住脚的。因为一个人不能边跟着野兔跑,边带猎犬龙头打猎,一脚踏两船、两面讨好。在这方面,我们赏识拿督沙烈曼对槟州希望联盟政府的忠诚支持—尽管他保留作为伊党党员的身份。

同样让人感到不安的是,王敬文声称5名公正党议员决定弃权,并已正式通知该党领袖。然而,他却拒绝透露他到底知会了哪一名公正党全国领袖。他也承认,另4名支持槟州政府立场以反对巫统动议的州议员,事先对5名议员有意投弃权票一事毫不知情。 很明显的,这5名公正党议员对另4名持有官职的公正党议员不满,或根本就是对4名有官职的公正党议员发动“内部兵变”。

若这一切是真的,这显示公正党里“党中有党”,一派是持有官职者,另一派则是由公正党全国领袖力挺的后座议员。槟州政府无意介入盟友的党内部纷争,我们会给公正党时间处理他们的内部问题,再定夺下一步行动,以决定如何应付相信巫统多过相信他们自己所属的政府的议员。

最后,我们交由槟州人民选择—就填海课题,要相信现有他们自己的州政府,还是巫统。

林冠英

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