GEORGE TOWN: Lim Guan Eng wants a federal development body to explain why there was no open tender in the sale of government land in Nibong Tebal to a private company at a RM15.2 million loss in 2015.
Lim said the Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda), which comes under the Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, had remained silent on the issue for more than a year despite repeated questioning.
Last April, Lim, who is Penang chief minister, revealed that a 3.4ha plot of land belonging to Perda, valued at RM16.6 million, was sold to a private company for RM1.42 million.
The land’s value had been ascertained by the finance ministry’s Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH), he said.
Lim said the land was acquired by Perda in 1986 to build low-cost homes but was sold off cheap due to soil erosion issues.
Perda chairman Shabudin Yahaya must be held accountable for this, he said, as the government had incurred losses in the sale.
“What is the basis on which he (Shabudin) rejected the evaluation by JPPH?”
Shabudin, who is also Tasek Gelugor MP, had said the land was sold off cheap as it was close to a river and prone to soil erosion.
He said a cost-benefit analysis showed it was no longer worthwhile for Perda to pursue its project there as that would incur losses of up to RM10 million.
There are now 107 houses on the site that has remained abandoned for the past 30 years, and must be cleared to make way for the sale.
Lim said the soil erosion excuse was unacceptable, as such problems could be rectified with proper engineering work at “a maximum of RM5 million”.
Although Shabudin had reportedly said the new owners were required to build low-cost homes on the site, Lim added that the likelihood of this happening was small.
This was because last March, the new owners had submitted plans to the Seberang Prai Municipal Council to build 27 shophouses there.
Lim said the claims of building low-cost homes at the site were “very confusing and irresponsible”.
“This is because the guidelines for housing throughout the country require you to build low-cost homes before building shophouses. How can low-cost houses be built when there are no applications to build even a single house?” he asked.