Guan Eng to prove in court he’s not corrupt
The Taman Manggis issue in Penang looks set to be settled in the court as the two parties have now received legal notices from the chief minister.
UPDATEDPETALING JAYA: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has claimed that he will prove in court that he is not corrupt and has not accumulated extraordinary wealth worth hundreds of millions, unlike his Barisan Nasional counterparts.
Lim’s special legal officer Andrew Yong said in a statement today that Penang Umno Youth chief Shaik Hussein Mydin and Gerakan have made “baseless claim” against the chief minister.
The allegation was that Lim had personally received money from Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre (KLIDC) in respect of its proposed private hospital in Penang.
Yong asked them to publicly reveal evidence of corruption against Lim to back up their allegation, saying that they are allegedly defamatory to Lim and are intended to damage his public image and political career.
“Neither Shaik Hussein, Umno Youth nor Gerakan have so far shown any proof to back their baseless allegation that KLIDC offered money to the chief minister to help secure the tender award for the 1.1 acre piece of land in Taman Manggis to build a private hospital,” said Yong.
Yong said it was Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai himself who announced that KLIDC has finally obtained a licence to operate the private hospital in Penang.
“Are Umno Youth and Gerakan also implying that Liow must also have received money from KLIDC?”
Yong said that KLIDC was given no advantage or favours when it won the bid for the Taman Manggis land. It was offered to the public by open competitive tender, he added.
“KLIDC made the highest bid at RM232 per sq ft, and the highest bid was chosen,” he said.
“By contrast, BN has chosen not to practise open competitive tenders in order to enable crony companies to get plum government contracts.”
Spreading false accusations
Yong said that Umno has been relying on lies and its control of the media to spread false accusations against Lim, which left the chief minister no choice but to sue for defamation.
He said that the Pakatan Rakyat state government under the leadership of Lim had taken a firm stand against corruption not merely by their personal commitments, but also by demonstrating the political will to build institutions of integrity.
“Penang was the first state to implement open competitive tenders and to publicly declare the assets of the chief minister and executive council members, and to bar their family members from engaging or doing business with the state government, as well as to ban elected representatives and municipal councillors from applying for government land.”
The BN federal government, however, has so far refused to implement these measures… “resulting in public scandals such as the RM40 million donation claimed by Sabah Umno, the extraordinary family wealth of Sarawak Chief Minister [Taib Mahmud] and the extravagant lifestyle of Malacca Chief Minister [Mohd Ali Rustam] who recently invited 130,000 guests to his son’s wedding.”
Yong said that legal notices were sent to Shaik Hussein and Gerakan last month and will be filed in court “unless they issue a retraction and apology and pay damages, which seem very unlikely given their statements so far”.
According to a previous FMT report, the BN government originally set aside the Taman Manggis land in Jalan Burmah to build affordable housing for the urban poor.
The BN government built a block of 18-storey affordable units on 4.9 acres in Taman Manggis, leaving the remaining 1.1 acres for future development of a second block.
Lim however said that the state decided to sell the 1.1-acre land for nearly RM11.5 million or RM232 psf to KLIDC as its size was not viable for housing project.
The state government, he said, would use the proceeds of the land sales to fund its affordable city housing project in Jalan SP Chelliah, some 3km from Taman Manggis.
When BN slammed the state government for selling the land to KLIDC below market price, Lim promptly offered BN to buy the land for over RM22 million or RM450 psf.
BN state chief Teng Chang Yeow instantly agreed to purchase the land, which compelled the state government to make the sale offer.
Last month, state BN Youth chief Oh Tong Keong led a group of BN Youth leaders and members to Komtar to deposit RM224,073 earnest money into a state Maybank account to facilitate the land purchase.
When Lim insisted on BN to pay the full amount to seal the land deal, Teng urged the state government to issue the land sales and purchase agreement.
The state government also imposed two conditions: BN must include its state leaders as company directors and engage a higher paid-up capital consortium to carry out the project.
Today, it was reported that Penang BN ignored a Tuesday deadline to make full payment for the Taman Manggis land as the state government has not produced the sales and purchase agreement.
Lim answers BN’s S&P argument
Lim meanwhile said that the state exco had decided to cancel the offer by Penang BN for the land based on four factors.
These were, he said:
- Insincerity and no genuine commitment by Penang BN to build PPR or low-cost houses for rent;
- Failure to change the directors and shareholders of BN’s housing developer company, Taman Manggis Fasa 2 Development Sdn Bhd, to include Teng and other Penang BN leaders;
- Failure to revise upwards the paid-up capital for housing development companies to the required amount set by the Housing and Local Government Ministry at 3% of Gross Development Value; and
- Failure to pay the remainder 99% or RM 22,183,227 by Dec 5, 2012, despite an extension of one month given to Teng and BN.
“How can there be a sales and purchase agreement without any land titles?” asked Lim.
He added that as long as the land title was not issued, the state government has the prerogative to sell the land to any other person.
“This land sale is a special case not by open tender, but directly granted to BN Penang by alienation,” he said.