Prime Pe­nang land ‘sold to hospi­tal’

New Straits Times - - News -

GE­ORGE TOWN: Pe­nang Chief Min­is­ter Lim Guan Eng yes­ter­day con­firmed that a prime piece of state land at Peel Av­enue here has been alien­ated to a pri­vate hospi­tal on a 99-year lease of RM156 mil­lion with­out go­ing through open ten­der last De­cem­ber.

This is done de­spite preach­ing that Pe­nang is the only state in Malaysia that prac­tices a blan­ket open ten­der­ing sys­tem.

Over the past week, non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion Cit­i­zen Aware­ness Chant Group and Pe­nang Ger­akan de­manded the state gov­ern­ment to come clean on the sta­tus of the 2.732ha land.

Lim said the state gov­ern­ment de­cided to treat Is­land Hospi­tal in the same man­ner that it treated multi­na­tional com­pa­nies, such as elec­tron­ics fac­to­ries in­vest­ing in the state.

He said build­ing a hospi­tal was a mas­sive un­der­tak­ing and Is­land Hospi­tal was will­ing to in­vest RM2 bil­lion.

“Since this is an of­fer from a rep­utable hospi­tal with fi­nan­cial re­sources, we treat it like any in­vest­ments com­ing in. We were told that the in­vest­ment is com­ing from over­seas.

“In this sense, it is like any other foreign in­vest­ment, like In­tel or any MNC (multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tion) com­ing in. They must ful­fil cer­tain re­quire­ments, espe­cially elec­tron­ics com­pa­nies.

“Com­pa­nies like In­tel or Mo­torola do not go through open ten­der. They are the MNCs that we want.

“Sim­i­larly, we de­cided to treat this mat­ter in the same man­ner be­cause this is a hospi­tal that is in the process of se­cur­ing a li­cence from the Health Min­istry for a mas­sive ex­pan­sion.”

Lim said the project will be the largest pri­vate hospi­tal in Malaysia so far.

He said the state had re­ceived RM30 mil­lion as de­posit from Is­land Hospi­tal.

The hospi­tal will have two years to ap­ply and se­cure nec­es­sary li­cences from rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and min­istries.

“Af­ter se­cur­ing the nec­es­sary ap­provals, the hospi­tal will have three months to pay the re­main­ing amount.”

Asked why he did not an­nounce the news ear­lier and only did so af­ter it be­came an is­sue of con­tention, Lim said he could not make the an­nounce­ment as he was sub­jected to a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment.

“The an­nounce­ment can only be made by the in­vestor at the time they feel is right.

“We must re­spect the con­fi­den­tial­ity of this in­vestor just like any other com­pany. If we make the an­nounce­ment for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, we will lose in­vestors’ con­fi­dence.

“We will not be dic­tated by po­lit­i­cal games played by ir­re­spon­si­ble par­ties.”

Lim Guan Eng

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