Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Penang On 8.11.2012.
Penang BN’s refusal to pay in full the purchase price of the 1.1 acre piece of land in Taman Manggis of RM 22,407,300 even though they claim to already have the money, questions the honesty of BN Penang whether they are serious in buying the land to build low-cost housing for rental(Projek Perumahan Rakyat or PPR). Why retain RM 22,183,227 when it can be paid to the state government?
BN Penang must concede that even though they are no longer in power, they are dealing not just with any ordinary body but with a properly constituted state government. After all, the state government is not going to run away with the money.
BN Penang Chairman Teng Chang Yeow had wrote on 3.10.2012 that BN Penang have accepted the Penang state government offer to buy at RM 450 per square feet to build PPR. Teng had paid only 1% or RM 224,074 dated 3.10.2012 on behalf of BN Penang. On 4 October, I had replied to Teng that the remainder 99% or RM 22,183,227 must be paid within 30 days by BN Penang.
When the 30-day period for full payment lapsed without payment of the remainder 99% and no appeal letter was lodged by Teng, the state government has every right to terminate this land transaction to Penang BN. However since Penang BN claims to have the money, the Penang state government is willing to grant another 30-day extension period till 4 December 2012 for BN to make full payment of RM 22,183,227 subject to 2 conditions:-
· All the directors and shareholders of Taman Manggis Fasa 2 Development Sdn Bhd must include Teng and other Penang BN leaders as both the state government and Teng had agreed that BN Penang is buying the land. The present shareholders and directors are not BN Penang leaders; and
· The paid-up capital must not be RM2 as revealed in the search on the company on 25.10.2012 but must be the required amount for housing development companies as set by the Housing and Local Government Ministry(recently revised to 3% of Gross Development Value. How can a RM2 company carry out a housing project?
Public And Moral Accountability Of BN Penang To Explain Where RM RM 22,407,300 And Additional Construction Cost Is Coming From To Ensure That The Source Of Fund Is Clean.
BN Penang has a moral and public accountability to explain where RM RM 22,407,300 and additional construction cost is coming from to ensure that the source of fund is clean. How come BN can’t find the money when they were in power but can when they are in opposition?
The state government had considered the land too small for public housing when the Housing and Local Government Ministry sets the minimum land area required is 2 acres. Instead an 11 acre site in Jalan S.P. Chelliah was chosen to build public housing- something not done before. The Taman Manggis land was chosen for a private hospital and sold by open competitive tender at RM 232 per square foot, which is above the Federal government valuation price of RM212 per square foot.
Even though BN has claimed that the land was set aside by the BN state government in 2003, there was no public announcement in the newspapers then. Further nothing was done by the BN state government from 2003-7 to build PPR when BN was in power.
It is strange that BN can not find the money and was not interested to build PPR when they were in power but once they are in opposition BN Penang can find the money and are interested in doing so. The rakyat should ensure that BN Penang remain in opposition then so that BN Penang can do in opposition what they failed to do in government.
So long as no land title has been issued, the state government has the prerogative to sell the land to any other person by issuing the land title. This land sale is a special case not by open tender, but directly granted to BN Penang by alienation.
An open tender would require an agreement in accordance to standard conditions established. This is government land without a land title. To insist on a sale & purchase is to show not just ignorance of land rules but purposely done to cause this transaction to fail so that BN can pin the blame on the state government.
Density in the number of units approved for building is not a problem as the local authority gives special flexibility for public housing for the poor. The density in the Rifle Range low-cost flats can be used as a reference.
BN failed to fulfil their promises that the RM2 Taman Manggis Fasa 2 Development Sdn Bhd is owned by BN Penang by having BN leaders as directors and shareholders. This gives rise to suspicion that BN is deliberately setting unreasonable conditions to the whole RM 22 million transaction as BN has no intention of spending money to build PPR. As the state government is not interested in playing political games, it will no longer respond to wild allegations form BN Penang, but will await till 4 December 2012 for full payment or that this transaction will finally lapse.
LIM GUAN ENG