Penang govt takes reporters to visit reclaimed land sites

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government took media members on a site visit along Gurney Drive foreshore to check out two plots earmarked for reclamation totalling 50 acres (20.2ha).

The reclaimed land has been locked in as a mode of future payment via land exchange for the construction works of the RM6.3bil mega project – three paired roads and Penang undersea tunnel.

Senior state executive councillors Lim Hock Seng and Chow Kon Yeow were part of the tour.

The visit came about as a response to Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow, who had questioned how a “land deal” could have taken place when the land was not even reclaimed.

Lim added that both plots have been earmarked in the Request for Proposal (RFP) and the preliminary agreement signed between the state government and Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.

“The developer and its appoin­ted nominee had signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for the development on the identified parcels of land.

“This is not something unusual, it has been a common practice,” he said yesterday before showing reporters the seafront where reclamation works would be carried out.

Earlier, it was reported that Teng was curious how a “land deal” could have taken place when the land was not there yet.

Pointing at the muddy plot of land being reclaimed in Gurney Drive during low tide then, Teng asked whether the agreement was done for a muddy plot or a real piece of land.

Chow yesterday said the then Barisan state government had inked an agreement with IJM to build the Jelutong Expressway (now known as Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway) in exchange for rights to reclaim land off the Jelutong seafront in the 1990s.

“Teng is clearly adopting double standard in this regard. It is all right for the Barisan state government then to sign a concession agreement when the land had not been reclaimed.

“But the current Penang government cannot use a similar financial model to implement major infrastructure projects to alleviate traffic congestion in the state,” said Chow.

Chow and Lim also showed reporters one of the two plots in Bandar Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, where it was used as payment for Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd for comple­ting the feasibility study, detailed design and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the three paired roads project totalling RM208mil.

The payment for the works was done through two land swaps, totalling 3.7 acres (1.49ha) with a nett development value of RM1,300 per sq ft.

lim hock seng , chow kon yeow