OFFER BETTER LOCATIONS, SAYS GERAKAN
‘Penang govt must find new site for sale for religious places of worship to show its sincerity and redeem itself’
GERAKAN has urged Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to offer better locations to religious institutions following the controversy surrounding the 12ha piece of land in Ampang Jajar, Butterworth, which is being offered for sale.
Gerakan vice-president Datuk A. Kohilan Pillay said the new site should be for a long-term basis, with a very cheap lease and infrastructure, such as water, electricity and roads.
“The new site must be free from undesirable sightings, such as sewage plants or dumpsites.
“It is important for the DAP-led state government to prove its sincerity and redeem itself,” he said yesterday.
Lim announced a week ago that the state government was offering the 12ha land for sale for religious places of worship.
He had said that 32 lots — varying from 6,000 sq ft to 0.4ha — would be available on a 99-year lease at a special rate, to be determined by the Valuation and Property Services Department of the Finance Ministry.
The offer was met with objections by various quarters since the land was located next to three sewage ponds and a solid waste storage area.
Kohilan, who is also the coordinator of the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat, also rebuked Batu Kawan member of parliament Kasthuri Patto for trying to justify the land sale offer.
Kohilan said it was Kasthuri who refused to accept the hard facts and politicised the issue with twisted logic and lame excuses. “It is clear that the location in Ampang Jajar is on a swampy land next to three sewage ponds in the Mak Mandin sewage treatment plant.
“The location is unsuitable and the offer is disrespectful to non-Muslim religious groups,” he said, adding that Kasthuri should stop politicising the issue.
"It is better for DAP to gracefully own up to its mistake and identify a new location in a more sincere manner.”
Meanwhile, Lim said the 12ha land was 100ft away from the oxidation pond, fulfilling the requirement set by Indah Water Konsortium for a 100ft buffer zone.
“We fulfil that requirement,” he said, chiding those who criticised the state government for the land sale offer.
"For those who spoke against the state government, they had never given a single piece of land to religious institutions,” he added.
Lim also pointed out that the land was going for RM100 per sq ft, stressing that the state government could have benefited more than 20 times if it allowed the land to be developed for luxury housing
“But, we want to help these religious institutions,” he said.
Datuk A. Kohilan Pillay