PENANG — Penang Gerakan State Liaison Committee Member Albert Tan Kah Leong urged Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to acknowledge with open heart the facts that the state government has sold state lands for monetary gain.
Albert said Guan Eng should not just justify their unrestrained sales of the state lands by comparing the precedent set by the former regime.
“It is apparent that the incumbent state government is resorting to land reclamation to top up its land bank and to sustain its continuous sales of state lands to offset losses of revenue,” said Albert.
He said Guan Eng kept harping on the misleading figures that the former BN regime has sold the reclaimed lands with the price of RM1 per square meter. Whereas the actual fact is that the RM 1 per square meter is the area of the sea without any land below and the BN state government did not have to pay the developers concerned any costs on reclamation works.
Not only that, when the reclamation project is completed, the BN state government would be able to get the revenue of RM42 million as the fees for land titles transfer. Guan Eng has never disputed these figures as he is fully aware of the actual facts and figures.
Albert was making reference in response made by Guan Eng on an article published in NST entitled “Is Penang on sales now?”
On the issue to make public the agreements on the land reclamation projects, Albert said the state government led by Guan Eng had chosen to hide behind the Official Secret Act in violation to their earlier commitment to make public the relevant documents on such important matter.
Obviously, Penang state government intended to cover up the actual facts from being made known to the people of Penang. They don’t want people of Penang to know how deceitful is DAP to mislead the people, and of course to divert the attention, they kept insinuating the so called injustice and irregularities done by the former BN regime.
As expected, when Guan Eng and State Exco member Chow Kon Yeow in the public briefing on PTMP project held end of last year announced that they would make public the agreement on the Tanjong Pinang Land Reclamation Projects, we have already predicted that they will be very reluctant to do so and even if they were to keep to their promises, they will only select to publish those parts favourable to their political agendas and not the whole document. Yes, they did just that.
Albert said apparently Guan Eng is still not conscious on the underlying reasons why the voices of grievances and protests against the new land reclamation projects are getting louder. The unrestrained sales of the state lands by the incumbent state government and the policy to reclaim more lands from the sea to sustain the resources of lands for sale has caused untoward anxiety among the people that the day is very close when the state government has no more land to hold in their hand.
He pointed out that time and space constraints are the two hurdles in land reclamation projects. It is not as simple as sell the lands when lands are available, when resources of lands run out, reclaim the lands from the sea and continue to sell lands. No doubt, the state government could get quick monetary gains by unrestrained sales of state lands, but at the expense of losing land ownership. It is analogous to killing goose to extract the eggs, what an idiotic way of making profits.
Albert would like to remind Guan Eng not to continue selling land that belongs to the people of Penang. It is just like the prevailing popular quotes of Guan Eng that the land does not belong to the father of anybody in Penang, neither do they belong to the father of Guan Eng. But one thing for sure, they are the legacy of the forefathers of Penang for the benefits and interests of the people in Penang. Has Penang government ever consulted Penangites who are collectively the owners of these lands when they sold the lands?