Penang government pressured to “come clean” on state lands sold

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Last Updated: 5:16pm, Jun 27, 2014GEORGE TOWN (June 27): The pressure is mounting on the Pakatan Rakyat Penang government to “come clean” on the status of state lands that have been sold off after it assumed power in March 2008.

Penang Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong today urged the DAP-led administration to list out how much state land has been sold and what is left under the state’s hands, in the spirit of transparency that it so espouses.

He said the state government must also explain what the sold lands are used for and how much money have been collected from them.

“We have learnt that most of the lands are sold to build luxury condominiums, not PPR (public housing projects), low-cost or low-medium-cost houses,” he said in a statement today.

He cited lands at Taman Free School, Taman Manggis, Batu Kawan, Bayan Mutiara and lands under the Penang Development Corporation as examples of those that have been sold.

“It is also learnt that nine houses along Magazine Road, five houses on Kimberly Street and one unit on Lorong Hutton, which are all assets of Penang Municipal Council (the custodian of public property) are now in the hands of outsiders,” he said in a statement today.

“Money collected from those sales is listed as profits in state accounts,” he alleged.

Describing such sales as “damaging practice”, he said the people should know and show concern on the status of properties that are affected.

The Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) has also recently been critical of any practice where state land is sold to rich developers when it could be used for people-oriented projects like affordable housing.

Its vice-president Huan Cheng Guan, had in his campaign for the Bukit Gelugor parliamentary by-election last month, said the public does not have a full account of which lands have been sold off, and there must be full transparency in this matter.

Huan, who eventually lost in the election, had in his manifesto pledged to execute a thorough audit of state land to ensure Penangites are aware of state assets and to disclose all necessary information for maximum accountability.

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