BUTTERWORTH: The former boss of the Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) today said he welcomed civil suits from the current leadership to recover “losses from cheaply-sold land”.
Former Perda chairman Shabudin Yahaya said all the decisions by the board members under his leadership were “above board” and made “in consensus”.
Yesterday, Perda announced that it had sued Shabudin, former board members and those who purchased land in two cases where the properties were allegedly sold at a cheaper price, as part of a larger probe into 15 cases of alleged mismanagement.
In a press conference today, Shabudin said he welcomed the probe and said he was willing to cooperate with investigating parties if needed.
The second-term Tasek Gelugor MP said there would be no problem for him to face the civil suit as he and the board members had given statements to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission before this.
The commission had investigated Perda following a complaint by former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in 2016.
“We are ready to justify all the deals made in court as everything was done according to the standard operating procedures set.
“The former board members and I can only hope that this can be resolved fairly and amicably for the best interests for all involved and to also negate any misconceptions,” Shabudin said at this service centre in Kepala Batas today.
He added the board members deciding on the deals had included members from the finance ministry, the Economic Planning Unit and the Implementation and Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department.
Yesterday, Perda chairman Haniff Khatri Abdulla revealed that it had sued Shabudin, former board members and purchasers of two pieces of land at Kg Tok Keramat, Nibong Tebal, covering 9.36 acres (3.8ha) worth RM17.7 million, and in Sungai Baong, Jawi, covering 5.8 acres worth RM1.9 million.
Entry into PPBM
On a separate matter, Shabudin said his recent entry into PPBM, along with six other Umno MPs, was solely motivated by his goal to help his constituents in Tasek Gelugor.
“I felt it was the right move. It would be more effective to help my constituents if I were in the ruling party.
“It would be advantageous to get allocations and aid for the people if we are with the government of the day. That way, the constituents are better served.
“The voters should not feel they are at a loss over my entry into PPBM. The voters must see this as an advantage to be part of the ruling coalition,” he said when asked about why he left Umno.
When asked about his relationship with his contender for the Tasek Gelugor seat in the last polls, PPBM’s Marzuki Yahya, Shabudin said they were both “friends” as they were both once Umno members.
“No problem … Marzuki and I. We were both friends when we were in Umno. And now, he and I work very closely,” he said.
On claims that he had not told the Tasek Gelugor Umno division about his impending departure from the party, Shabudin said this did not matter as he was no longer the division chief.
“The decision to leave the party was made between me and other MPs (who were planning to leave). There were reasons to do so, among ourselves.
“After I was not elected division chief, nobody cared about me. Why must I tell anything to the division?
“This is a small matter anyway because I have a new mission. Now, I can do more for the country and the people through the party I’ve chosen to join — PPBM.
“Furthermore, with an election petition hanging over my head now gone, there are no more doubts about my status as MP. I am today a PPBM member and an MP from PPBM,” he said.
Shabudin served two terms as a Penang assemblyman and one term as an Umno MP for Tasek Gelugor.
He won the seat again with an 81-vote majority in the last polls, edging out Marzuki and a PAS candidate.
Yesterday, an election petition to recount the votes for Tasek Gelugor was cancelled after a collective decision by lawyers in the case after Shabudin joined PPBM.
On Feb 12, Shabudin was one of seven former Umno MPs accepted as PPBM members.