PUTRAJAYA, April 5 – The Barisan Nasional (BN) has produced sale and purchase agreement documents linking the controversial plot of land in Taman Manggis, Penang which was sold to a third party. In disclosing the agreements here today, BN Strategic Communications Director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the documents showed that Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre (KLIDC) Sdn Bhd had sold the land shares to a third party.
Abdul Rahman, who is also urban wellbeing, housing and local government minister, said the agreements dated Nov 11 last year, also indicated the purchase price of the sub-sale transaction at RM70,643,628. Without revealing the identity of the ‘third party’, he recalled that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had denied the land was sold to a third party.
He said what Lim did not disclose is that the land is now held by KLIDC and the sale of its (KLIDC’s) shares has the same effect of selling the land. He told this in a media conference at his office here today. On March 24, Lim had dismissed allegations the land in Taman Manggis – supposedly for the development of a housing project for the Hardcore Poor (PPRT) – would be sold to a third party and the land was still under the KLIDC, as stated in the land title.
The issue relating to the Taman Manggis land and bungalow purchased by Lim began when the matter was raised in the Dewan Rakyat by Tasek Gelugor Member of Parliament, Datuk Shabudin Yahaya, who requested the Valuation and Property Development Department to make an assessment on the RM2.8 million property, claiming the current price was above RM3 million.
Abdul Rahman said the agreements that formed the sale were inter-alia connected to each other, involving the sale of KLIDC and Victoria International Medical Centre Sdn Bhd, at RM18,643,628 and RM52,000,000, respectively, and the companies involved were owned by Datuk Tang Yong Chew and his wife.
He said when read simultaneously, the two agreements appear to effect the sale of the medical centre and hotel project, with the core asset being the land at Taman Manggis. In the meantime, the project on the land is now put on hold after objection from several parties.
Despite the sale of land in Taman Manggis being below market price, Abdul Rahman also said that the land was subsequently, resold by KLIDC to a third party for RM70.6 million, with a projected profit of RM59 million, despite the core project being undeveloped.
He said the land was originally sold to KLIDC on Jun 16, 2010 when the Penang Government had awarded it under a controversial request for proposal process at RM11.55 million or at RM232 per square feet, a price many believed was grossly lower than the market value at the time.
Abdul Rahman also questioned whether the state government had been notified on the transaction and whether it had given approval for it. In addition, he said he had instructed his team to submit the sale and purchase agreements and other related documents to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the police.
He said they hope that the documents will assist them to execute their job, without fear or favour. To a question, Abdul Rahman said the Penang Government’s decision to build the low-cost housing project on a bigger plot of land at Jalan S. P. Chelliah, located in the city centre, was totally different from the initial plan at Taman Manggis.
“At S. P. Chelliah, a unit is priced at RM72,000 while a PPRT unit is sold at RM35,000, despite the cost of building being more than RM100,000, with rental of RM100 per month. The price at S. P. Chelliah is double and it does not serve the purpose for the hardcore poor,” he explained.
The land at Penang’s Taman Manggis had initially been gazetted by the state government to build affordable houses, but the plan for PPRT was replaced with a proposal for a mixed development project in 2005. Lim had said the state government had found the size of the Taman Manggis land (over one acre land) was not suitable for low-cost housing, and had moved the affordable housing project to a land which was over 10 times bigger at Jalan S. P. Chellilah.