A GROUP of Japanese golfers have appealed to the state government to help revive the Kristal Golf Resort in Sungai Bakap which stopped operating in July last year.
The group, comprising 90 Japanese from Penang and Kedah, said the affected members had not been refunded the resort’s club membership fees.
The corporate life membership was RM40,000 to RM50,000 while individual life membership was between RM36,000 and RM42,000.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the group said the golf club had about 1,400 members when it ceased operations, of which 300 were Japanese.
Fuji Electric Semiconductor (M) Sdn Bhd senior general manager Kenichi Matsuno, 46, whose company in Kulim was a corporate member of the golf club, said there should be some law to protect the rights of club members.
Another member, retired businessman Tatsuhi Yamamura, 63, who came to Penang under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme in 2006, said he had just paid his annual membership fees to the club before its closure, and only managed to use the facilities a few times.
The group handed a letter of appeal to the state government yesterday through Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong, who is policy adviser to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, and said they were still in the process of collecting more signatures.
In the letter of appeal, the members said golf was an important social activity for the 1,200 Japanese expatriates in Penang, and large multinational companies such as Pen Group, Texchem, Renesas, Sony, Fuji Electric and others had multiple corporate membership at Kristal Golf Resort, which was also the main golf course for long-stay tourists and MM2H residents from Japan.
They said the original Japanese investor had paid RM25mil for the land in 1991 and spent about RM55mil on the infrastructure and facilities, but national asset management company Pengurusan Dana-harta Nasional Bhd sold it to the current buyer at only RM21mil in 2007.
“If the obligation as golf course is removed, the land should be easily worth RM50mil. The recent transaction of Kristal is not transparent and not fair to the original Japanese investor,” read the letter.
It also gave as example that when the Pearl Island Country Club closed in 2005, the golf club went on to refund the membership fees to its members.
Liew said the state government was taking steps to meet the buyer.
He also said the federal government had to answer why there was no open meeting over the sale of the land, why it was awarded to the buyer when there were higher bids, and why the interest of the club members were not taken care of.
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