Did only one firm take part in Taman Manggis land tender?

Jason-Loo-Jieh-ShengGEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan has asked the state government to clarify whether only one company took part in the open bidding for the controversial Taman Manggis land deal in Penang.

Penang Gerakan Youth, Legal and Public Complaints Bureau Chief Jason Loo Jieh Sheng claimed he was informed of this by a government officer.

However, he said he did not have documented evidence to back his claim.

“I came to purchase the open tender documents on Taman Manggis and the officer told me only one company had tendered for it.

“I am not sure if this is true as I don’t have the Taman Manggis documents yet,” he told reporters after submitting his application to purchase the documents at Komtar today.

Loo paid RM150 to obtain the documents under the State Freedom of Information Enactment 2010.

He will receive the documents in 14 days and has to sign a statutory declaration (SD) to protect its contents from public knowledge.

Loo, however, said he would not sign the SD for once he did so he could not reveal contents of Taman Manggis documents to the public.

“The state government must be sincere and declassify documents regarding this deal.

“It must not impose obstacles for the public who want to apply for government transaction records.

“The Penang government advocates CAT (competency, accountability and transparency), but in reality, it does not abide by its ideals.”

Loo said being transparent would help improve the collaboration between the government and the people.

“If the state government doesn’t want to declassify the documents, then it has something to hide.

“When the government is transparent, it can increase the community engagement and empower citizens. The trust level of people towards the government will be high.

“Sometimes, implementing impressive laws is good but the political will is very important in government administration.”

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is being investigated by the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission after his purchase of a bungalow last year, alleged to be below the market price, was linked to the Taman Manggis land sale in 2010.

The Taman Manggis land was sold to Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre (KLIDC) Sdn Bhd to build a 30-storey hotel cum hospital.

It was earlier meant for Phase Two of an affordable public housing project.

Loo, a lawyer by profession, said people wanted to know whether the purchase of the bungalow and the Taman Manggis land deal were inter-linked.