MACC urged to probe Batu Kawah land deal


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  • Thursday, 15 Jan 2015

Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen showing his letter to MACC on the Batu Kawah land deal.

KUCHING: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been urged to investigate a land deal at Batu Kawah here, which Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen claims was “grossly under-priced” by the state government.

Chong said he had furnished MACC with the relevant documents on the deal, including an agreement between the state government and a private company for the sale of the 108ha land and a company search of the firm involved.

He alleged that the agreement was “highly suspicious” as the land was alienated to the company at a price of RM115mil although its market value was approximately RM500mil.

In addition, he said, the company search indicated that the firm only had two shareholders and was listed as a private exempt company with no obligation to disclose its financial statement.

“This is normal for small companies. But for a company that the government will consider alienating a piece of land worth RM500mil to, it is suspicious,” he told a press conference at state DAP headquarters here yesterday.

Chong said he was not lodging a report with MACC on the deal as doing so meant that he could not raise the issue until the case had been prosecuted.

However, he said he was not required to formally lodge a report for an investigation to be carried out, as provided for under Section 7(b) of the MACC Act.

He added that MACC’s functions included examining the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies in order to discover any offences, securing the revision of such practices which might be conducive to corruption and advising heads of public bodies of changes in practices which the chief commissioner thought necessary to reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of corruption.

“It is common sense that direct alienation of state land without going through the open tender process is conducive to corruption. I hope the MACC will act on this,” Chong said.

In the meantime, he said, it was his duty to continue highlighting the issue to bring about more public awareness on cronyism and impropriety in land transactions carried out by the state government.

On another matter, Chong refuted PBB supreme council member Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s allegation that Sarawak DAP was ignorant of the delineation process in its signature campaign to object to it.

Abdul Karim had said that a signature campaign was not part of the proper procedure for voters to register their objections to the Election Commission’s (EC) proposed delineation of seats.

Chong responded that objections could be made by at least 100 voters in the affected constituencies.

“What we are doing is in accordance with the provision of the law. Maybe Abdul Karim thought it is something like our campaign to reduce electricity tariffs when we collected over 100,000 signatures.

“But this is to get not less than 100 voters in the affected area to raise their objections. Once we get 100 signatures, the EC has to hold a hearing and address the objection,” he said.

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