BUTTERWORTH, April 1 – The Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) today dismissed Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s claim that the agency sold its land in Tok Keramat, Seberang Perai Selatan (SPS), at below-market price. Its chairman, Datuk Shabudin Yahaya said Lim should look at the issue from various aspects and not merely compare prices.
“Perda was not a profit-driven agency, but was set up to help the people, especially rural folks, by providing low-cost and affordable houses. When Lim said Perda had lost about RM15 million, it is not something which he should question because the RM15 million he was referring to is on acquisition compared with current value and what Perda did,” he said.
He also said that the current value of the land is about RM16 million, but Perda only made a profit or sold it at RM1.42 million, so there is a difference of almost RM15 million. He told this to the reporters in a press conference here today. Yesterday, Lim invited Shabudin, who is Tasek Gelugor Member of Parliament, to meet him this Sunday to clarify the matter.
According to Lim, the value of the land, covering 3.4 hectare and with 18 plots, as assessed by the Inland Revenue Board was RM16.6 million. Meanwhile, Shabudin also said that the land had been divided into 240 small lots in 1988 for building of low-cost houses.
However, he said, the project was abandoned for more than 30 years due to soil movement problem at phase 1 of the project, involving 107 houses. Following a cost analysis, it was found that the project was a liability and would cost Perda to suffer losses of RM10 million if the project was to continue to be developed, he added.
He said a decision was then made to sell the land at RM1.42 million and buy another land in SPS with potential to be developed for low cost and affordable houses at between RM42,000 and RM72,000. Perda is now in the process of buying a 4.86 hectare site in SPS, he added
He said Perda was aware of the cost of land in the area and if it was sold at the current value, the houses to be built there would be valued at between RM400,000 and RM1.2 million. Therefore, he added that it must be understood that the RM15 million which Perda could have obtained has been distributed to the 250 potential buyers through the purchase of the houses. Shabudin said Perda was considering taking legal action against quarters which slandered Perda on the issue of the land sale.