>> 04 September 2012

PETALING JAYA: The Penang Barisan Nasional has produced documents to prove its claims that the controversial sale of prime state land in George Town is indeed about “taking land from the poor to sell to the rich”.

State Barisan youth information chief H’ng Khoon Leng said Taman Manggis in the heart of George Town had clearly been earmarked for housing for the poor as stated in a letter sent by the state housing and local government director to the then State Secretary.

“We are prepared to show this official letter to the Chief Minister since he does not seem to be aware of it,” said Hng.

The letter, dated July 2003, indicated that the state exco had given the go-ahead for the second phase of the low cost housing on the land that has reportedly been sold to a company to build a health tourism project involving a hotel and private medical centre.

H’ng said the Pakatan Rakyat government was behaving like a “renegade Robin Hood”.

“Robin Hood took from the rich to give to the poor but they are taking land meant for the poor to sell to the rich,” said H’ng.

The first phase of the project was completed in 2006 and comprised 180 units of low cost housing as well as amenities such as a surau, community hall, garden and a guardhouse.

Plans were being drawn up for the second phase on the remaining area of 0.4ha when the Barisan government fell in 2008. The second phase would have comprised one block of about 160 units. A copy of the layout plan has also been made available to the media.

Barisan also alleged that the land was sold for RM11mil which was well below its market value of RM22mil, but Chief Minister Lim Guan Engclaimed that the land was too small for an affordable housing project and defended the sale as an open tender scheme.

Meanwhile, Penang Barisan chairman Teng Chang Yeow said it was waiting for an offer letter from the state government to buy the land for a public housing project.

Its chairman Teng Chang Yeow said several developers were willing to fund the purchase to ensure the poor had proper housing.

Since the Kuala Lumpur-based dental company that bought the land had yet to obtain the permit to build a private medical specialist centre, the state government had not transferred the land title to the buyer making it possible to accept Barisan’s offer. - The Star


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