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’

New Straits Times - - News - AU­DREY DERMAWAN au­dreymd@nst.com.my

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

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