GEORGE TOWN: Stop the tai-chi with the Nibong Tebal land exposes and answer questions about your bungalow purchase, state Umno chief Zainal Abidin Osman today told Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Zainal said if Lim was unhappy with the Penang Regional Development Authority’s (Perda) “cheap” land deal, he should report it to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“This is the first time in seven years as chief minister, Lim has visited a federal-owned land.
“If only he was this enthusiastic, I am sure the backlog in federal-sanctioned homes since 2012 can be resolved,” he said in a statement today.
Zainal had complained about double standards by the Penang government for purposely not approving some 9,000 affordable homes to be built by federal agencies in the state.
The Penang government had shot back at this accusation, saying not all of the planned homes were affordable as some homes were worth “millions”.
Zainal had said these “million ringgit homes” were used to “cross-subsidise” land costs and for more affordable homes in the future.
His statement comes amid a revelation by Lim that Perda had sold a 3.4ha land at Kg Tok Keramat, Nibong Tebal, at a loss.
Last week, Lim claimed the land was sold at RM1.42 million last year, lower than the purchase price of RM1.7 million in 1986.
It was acquired by Perda then to build low-cost homes. However, some 100 low-cost homes were built on the site and abandoned for the past 30 years. The said homes were later demolished to make way for the sale to a private company.
Lim said the adjudicated value of the land was RM16.6 million and wondered why the land was sold cheaply.
Perda chairman Shabudin Yahaya countered that the land had to be sold due to erosion problems.
He had said Perda, a federal agency, would incur losses up to RM10 million if it did not and tried to develop it.
Shabudin said the proceeds from the land would be used to cross-fund future affordable home buyers on the same land. He said the new landowners had been required to build homes costing between RM75,000 and RM200,000.
Perda is an agency overseeing federal-related projects in Penang and is under the control of the Prime Minister’s Department.
To this explanation about erosion, Lim said his engineers were told it will only cost about RM5 million to overcome the problem.
The Shabudin-Lim spat began after the former told Parliament that Lim had bought a bungalow in George Town, which he had been renting earlier, at below the market value.
Shabudin said the purchase price of RM2.8 million paled in comparison with a figure of RM6-RM6.5 million quoted for comparable bungalows in the Jalan Pinhorn vicinity.
The former owner of Lim’s bungalow has claimed she had no links to the sale of another piece of land in Taman Manggis, earmarked for a hospital.
Lim has claimed innocence and said this was an orchestrated attack against him to whitewash the RM2.6 billion donation in the Prime Minister’s account.
The case is currently being investigated by police and the MACC.