MCA: WHY NO OPEN TEN­DER CALLED?

CM’s ex­pla­na­tion does not make sense, says party

New Straits Times - - News -

BALVIN KAUR

GE­ORGE TOWN balvinkaur@nst.com.my

ACHORUS of queries has grown among many quar­ters for the state gov­ern­ment to ex­plain the land sale in­volv­ing 2.5ha at Peel Av­enue.

The lat­est came from Pe­nang MCA, which de­manded that the state ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­plain why there was no open ten­der for the land sold to a for­eign in­vestor.

Its or­gan­is­ing sec­re­tary Dr Tan Chuan Hong said the state gov­ern­ment was ex­ploit­ing the peo­ple on the land deal as well as vi­o­lat­ing its “Com­pe­tent, Ac­count­able, Trans­par­ent” motto.

“The land price in Per­siaran Gur­ney is RM1,500 per square foot and RM1,000 per square foot in Pu­lau Tikus but the state gov­ern­ment sold the Peel Av­enue’s land for only RM560 per square foot,” he said yes­ter­day.

Last Thurs­day, the state gov­ern­ment was put on the spot over the sale of the land for RM156 mil­lion to a pri­vate med­i­cal com­pany, with­out call­ing for an open ten­der.

Chief Min­is­ter Lim Guan Eng had said there was no open ten­der for po­ten­tial gamechanger projects and that direct ne­go­ti­a­tions were the in­ter­na­tional norm.

Dr Tan said Lim’s ex­pla­na­tion, that the land was bought by the in­vestor with­out an open ten­der be­cause it was a for­eign direct in­vest­ment in a high-value in­dus­try, did not make sense.

“Did Pe­nang’s past de­vel­op­ment projects not in­volve for­eign in­vest­ments?

“Why did past for­eign in­vest­ments re­quire an open ten­der?

“Why should this land be trans­ferred to the Chief Min­is­ter In­cor­po­rated (CMI) be­fore sell­ing?”

Dr Tan said Lim had to pro­vide more de­tails on the deal as the peo­ple had the right to know the truth.

“Pe­nang gov­ern­ment has pre­vi­ously boasted of im­ple­ment­ing a trans­par­ent open ten­der pol­icy but in prac­tice they are do­ing it dif­fer­ently.

“More­over, it is be­ing han­dled by CMI and this leads to sus­pi­cion of cor­rup­tion.”

Dr Tan also said he was con­cerned with the pos­si­ble de­mo­li­tion of pre-war build­ings from the Bri­tish colo­nial pe­riod and old trees on the land.

“We should pre­serve our her­itage build­ings in­stead of de­stroy­ing it one by one,” he said.

PIC BY MIKAIL ONG

The 2.5ha plot of land in Peel Av­enue in Ge­orge Town was sold to a for­eign in­vestor for RM156 mil­lion.

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