‘PENANG GOVT MUST REVEAL DEAL’
Penang Gerakan Youth chief urges for land sale details to be made known
GEORGE TOWN firstname.lastname@example.org
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.