Malaysia

Guan Eng denies selling off Bayan Mutiara mosque land

Lim said the Umno leaders’ allegations were baseless given that the development plan had not yet been submitted. — File picLim said the Umno leaders’ allegations were baseless given that the development plan had not yet been submitted. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Lim Guan Eng rubbished today Umno’s claim that the developer of Penang World City in Bayan Mutiara made no provision for mosques, pointing out that the plot has yet to be subdivided.

The Penang chief minister said developer Ivory Properties Group Bhd (IPGB) will only do the subdivision when it submits development plans for the 41.5-ha real estate to Penang Municipal Council (MPPP).

“The new plans and subdivision of title has not even been submitted, how can Umno claim that the mosque or school land has been sold or disappeared?” he said in a statement.

“Umno must remember that there are standard requirements for schools and places of ... worship including surau or mosque that are compulsory by local government or must be included in any development project.”

Lim also stressed that the “people-centric” state government would hold on to its fundamental principles and not let land marked for schools and places of worship to disappear.

The DAP secretary-general added that he will take legal action against Umno and Utusan Malaysia for claiming that he had sold off the mosque land, and warned Barisan Nasional (BN) from further stoking religious tension.

Several Umno leaders have alleged that the Penang government sold the prime real estate at a hefty discount to IPGB following direct negotiations.

They claim that the plot in question was actually worth RM420 psf, much higher than the RM240 psf Penang had sold the land for.

Lim, however, has repeatedly refuted this and instead challenged Umno leaders to furnish proof of their claims.

He pointed out that the land in question had been valued by Penang Development Corp (PDC) at RM84 psf for an 18-acre plot and RM65 psf for an 88-acre plot, as of November 2009.

The Penang chief minister added that he was willing to retire from politics if critics of the deal could prove that the land sale was not done through an open and competitive tender.

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