Najib deliberately confusing Penang land issue, says Guan Eng

Jamny Rosli
Lim Guan Eng gives a speech at the Securities Commission Malaysia headquarters in Kuala Lumpur October 1, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is “deliberately” confused between land sold by the Penang government for revenue in contrast to land sold for national development and employment creation, Lim Guan Eng said today.

The former Penang chief minister said that when he previously noted that his administration sold only 106 acres or 36 times less than the 3,661 acres of land sold by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, he did not include land sold by both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and BN state government for development and employment creation.

“For instance, land sold to multinational corporations in the electronic sector, or for educational institutions or to bring in economic game-changers like IKEA in Batu Kawan by the Pakatan government or to establish the Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone by the BN government, including the land reclamation opposite Pulau Jerejak.

“These land sold for economic and national development were not included in our calculation, only those sold to collect revenue,” Lim said in a statement.

Lim, who is also the Finance Minister and DAP secretary-general, reiterated that Najib was also wrong when the latter said that among the land sold by Lim’s administration included lands for the purpose of the tunnels projects and the Penang Transport Master Plan(PTMP), where land reclamation rights were granted.

Lim said the tunnel projects referred to 1,000 acres of reclamation land near Gurney Drive were granted by the previous BN government and sold at RM1 per square feet and 10 per cent of land granted to the state government.

“As Penang Chief Minister, this 10 per cent land offer was improved to 20 per cent of land granted to the state government.

“As for the PTMP, the land reclamation rights has still not been approved by the relevant authorities and no monies or revenue has been collected,” Lim said.

He said, similarly, more than 1,600 acres of reclaimed land near Butterworth were sold by the previous BN government for only 5 per cent of the reclaimed land to be given to the state government.

“Again, the Pakatan government renegotiated and increased the price of reclaimed land for Butterworth from 5 per cent to 35 per cent, or 7 times more, of land to be given to the state government,” Lim added.

Despite Pakatan selling 36 times less of land, the finance minister said PH still received more money than BN because the land sales were sold by open tender instead of direct negotiations by BN.

“The revenue from land sales by the Pakatan government was used for affordable housing, leaving a remaining sum amounting to only 10.4 per cent of state expenditure.

“So, it is not true that state government revenue and surpluses came solely from land sales,” he said.

Related Articles Lim: Kerajaan dapat RM10 bilion dari China jika batal ECRL Noh baca pantun sindir Lim, Takiyuddin mahu bukti tuduhan Kelantan’s strapped finances not new, that’s why Putrajaya helping, says Guan Eng