PENANG：Penang Gerakan Youth Legal and Public Complaints Bureau chief Jason Loo pointed out that there is nothing wrong for the state government to declassify any agreement on land reclamation project if it is meant for the public interest and if that disclosure is not detrimental to either party of the agreement.
He said the Chief Minister should know that the confidentiality clause in agreement is meant to protect the interest of the parties of the agreements in which the terms and conditions stated therein have to be kept in private. However, in actual practice, this clause is only meant to protect the interest of the developers for the projects that have yet to commence works.
Loo who is also a practicing lawyer said that if a reclamation project was completed (such as the Jelutong Expressway project by IJM) or a developer has commenced the reclamation works (such as the STP project by E&O), there is nothing wrong for the state government to disclose it if it is meant for the public interest and the disclosure is not detrimental to either party of the agreement.
He said that unless the Chief Minister has something to hide otherwise we see no reason to withhold the declassification of the agreements on the deals that have been completed or are being carried out.
Loo said according to press report, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has said that letters were sent to IJM and E&O Berhad subsidiary Tanjung Pinang Development Sdn Bhd, seeking their consent for the relevant documents protected under the confidentiality clause to be revealed.
Loo said that if from the very beginning Lim had not deliberately attempted to distort UMNO state assemblyman’s motion to request the state government to conduct public hearing to listen to the people’s concerns before the state government carries out its UPCOMING and NEW massive reclamation works and claiming that the state government will be bankrupt if it stops all CURRENT reclamation projects, he would not have been challenged to declassify all the relevant agreements on the land reclamation projects.
The uncalled for dispute on the issue of declassification has led to the public’s concern whether the Chief Minister is honest by saying that the state government will have to pay compensation of up to RM1 billion and thus will be bankrupt as he claimed.
In actual fact, right from the beginning, no one has asked the state authority to terminate any agreement neither has anyone asked the state to stop any ongoing reclamation works. It was Lim who has drifted away from the core of the whole issue in his deliberate attempt to divert the attention of the public.
It is obvious that every new remark narrated by the Chief Minister with regard to the reclamation issues simply proves that the DAP-led Pakatan Harapan Baru state government’s CAT policy is a total fiasco and only goes to show their attempt to deceive the people.