‘PE­NANG GOVT MUST RE­VEAL DEAL’

Pe­nang Ger­akan Youth chief urges for land sale de­tails to be made known

New Straits Times - - News -

BALVIN KAUR

GEORGE TOWN balvinkaur@nst.com.my

THE state gov­ern­ment has been urged to re­veal how much land has been trans­ferred to Chief Min­is­ter In­cor­po­rated (CMI) since 2008.

Pe­nang Ger­akan Youth chief Ja­son Loo also called on the state gov­ern­ment to re­veal how much land held by CMI had been sold since then.

“The state gov­ern­ment must ex­plain how many pieces of land had been trans­ferred to CMI and where all the pro­ceeds from the sale of the land were chan­nelled to, whether to the CMI ac­count or an­other ac­count.

“They should also an­swer how CMI has spent the prof­its gen­er­ated from all land sales un­der it,” he said at Pe­nang Ger­akan head­quar­ters here yes­ter­day.

The state gov­ern­ment had come un­der fire af­ter sell­ing off a 2.59ha par­cel of land off Le­buhraya Peel here to Is­land Hos­pi­tal Sdn Bhd for RM156 mil­lion in a 99-year-lease last De­cem­ber via di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Chief Min­is­ter Lim Guan Eng had said the land was sold with­out an open ten­der as it was a game-changer deal and that the eco­nomic value ex­ceeded RM2 bil­lion.

He had said that Is­land Hos­pi­tal ap­proached the state gov­ern­ment about pur­chas­ing the land in 2015 and that the state gov­ern­ment agreed to con­sider the pro­posal.

Lim had said that the own­er­ship of the land was trans­ferred to CMI on Dec 16, 2015, and a of­fer let­ter was given to Is­land Hos­pi­tal on July 12, 2016, fol­low­ing which the land sale and de­vel­op­ment agree­ment was inked on Dec 19, 2016.

Is­land Hos­pi­tal re­port­edly plans to build an “Is­land Medical City” with a 1,000bed pri­vate hos­pi­tal and suites in the next five years, if it ob­tains a medical li­cence from the Health Min­istry in the next two years.

Yes­ter­day, Loo said the state gov­ern­ment should also re­veal why the land in ques­tion was trans­ferred to CMI prior to be­ing sold to Is­land Hos­pi­tal.

He said peo­ple were con­cerned that giv­ing “one man the ab­so­lute power to de­cide” on the sale of state land would open room for cor­rup­tion.

“When the state gov­ern­ment was un­der the Ger­akan lead­er­ship, all sale of state-owned land had to be vet­ted by a task force com­pris­ing sev­eral state ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil­lors and state as­sem­bly­men be­fore be­ing for­warded to the state ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil meet­ing for fi­nal ap­proval.

“(This meant that) land sales were the joint de­ci­sion of all 10 state ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil­lors. How­ever, un­der DAP lead­er­ship, the sale of state-owned lands can be de­cided solely by one man, namely the chief min­is­ter, via CMI,” he said.

Ef­forts to get Lim has to com­ment have proved fu­tile as he has re­fused to re­spond to Loo’s de­mands.

On an­other is­sue, state Umno li­ai­son com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Os­man had said it was sur­pris­ing that the DAP-led state gov­ern­ment was look­ing for a loan from a bank in China to de­velop the state.

He had claimed the state had made RM12 bil­lion from the sale of state lands and should use this money to de­velop the state in­stead of look­ing for loans.

On Thurs­day, the leg­isla­tive assem­bly had passed a bill al­low­ing the state gov­ern­ment to bor­row funds from banks or fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

Ja­son Loo

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