KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Lim Guan Eng accused Umno Penang today of racism for choosing only to highlight the alleged disposal of land earmarked for mosques in the Bayan Mutiara project.
The Penang chief minister said that if Umno’s claims were true and that the land been reclassified in the 102.6-acre sale of Bayan Mutiara to Ivory Property Group Bhd (IPGB), then issue affects both Muslim and non-Muslims.
“Why then is Umno not highlighting that non-Muslim land for religious worship has ‘disappeared’ but only mosque land?” Lim said in a statement. “Have non-Muslims no value to Umno or no right to have their own land for religious worship?”
“Clearly Umno is taking a very racist and dangerous approach in pitting race against race, religion against religion in their desperate lies to undermine my leadership and the PR state government.”
Last week Lim rubbished 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 IPGB will only do the subdivision when it submits development plans for the 41.5-ha real estate to Penang Municipal Council (MPPP).
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 also 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.