Search for Peel Avenue land sale draws a blank

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GEORGE TOWN: The mystery over the sale of land along upmarket Peel Avenue here that belongs to the Penang government, has deepened with the state’s own record book carrying no details of the purported sale.

A search for ownership information on lot 1449 at the state Land and Mines Office in Komtar today failed to produce the necessary documentation.

An officer there showed FMT a land grants book with the page corresponding to the lot being empty.

He said it was likely that the plot was a piece of “empty land” or a “padang” (field).

The land, presently occupied by colonial-era government bungalows and a depot for vehicles, is located directly across from the Civil Defence Department’s state headquarters.

At the time of writing, the Penang government has yet to respond to FMT’s request for comment.

State Gerakan Youth chief Jason Loo today joined others in demanding for more details on the supposed sale.

He said if the transaction had indeed taken place, the state government must reveal the cost and other details related to the deal.

He said any government-owned land must be managed in a transparent and open manner, as per the state’s Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT) mantra.

“So we ask the state government to say whether this land deal had gone through (the CAT process) or not,” he told reporters at the site of the said land.

Yesterday, Yan Lee of NGO Citizen Awareness Chant Group asked for more information pertaining to the sale of at least seven acres (2.8ha) of land belonging to the Penang government that may have been sold to a private party for a wellness project.

He said if this was true, then the large-scale project in Peel Avenue ought to have been discussed with residents in the vicinity.

He also questioned if the transaction, if it took place, was conducted through an open tender process or direct negotiations.

Yan said the value of the land was likely RM1,000 per sq ft at the very least and that a bungalow near the area was being advertised for sale for RM18 million or around RM670 per sq foot.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/20/penang-bn-says-lim-guan-engs-cat-is-dead/