GEORGE TOWN: Although the Penang Development Corporation has called off the land deal in Batu Kawan, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has been criticised by a prominent businessman for his alleged failure to understand how business works.
Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) life honorary president Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping claimed Chow, who is PDC chairman, was "ignorant" about business matters.
“He couldn’t answer any of the questions posed by us and the media.
“The state government should investigate the PDC and how they conducted the land sale,” he said.
Tan described Chow as "shameless" and "incompetent" for being unable to address the questions related to the land sale.
On Oct 3, the PCCC had raised questions about the selling price of the 226.2ha plot of land near the former Byram estate.
The PCCC alleged that the current market price of the industrial land was RM80 per sq ft and questioned the sales price and the four-year term payment.
They also questioned why PDC had sold the land to a private company without an open tender.
On Monday, the PDC board announced that it has decided to terminate the joint-venture agreement with UMECH Land following calls to suspend the controversial sale of the PDC-owned land in Seberang Prai Selatan.
PCCC president Datuk Seri Hong Yeam Wah also called for the state government to reshuffle the PDC management, claiming that the land sale fiasco was an eye-opener to outsiders, exposing the arrogance of the PDC management.
Meanwhile, Chow said it was untrue that he did not respond to queries on the matter.
"I am the chairman of Penang Development Corporation, and they (board members) responded to the questions raised by him (Tan).
"It was replied through PDC.
"As the PDC chairman, what PDC says is my answer as well," he told a press conference in Komtar on Wednesday (Oct 18).
When asked about Tan's remarks, Chow said: "I will see what is printed (in the newspapers)."
Chow said PDC would carry out a review of its procedure for land sales.
“We want to improve on-land procedures and be thorough through open tenders, requests for proposals and direct awards.
"This is to ensure the management can refine it, so it is a clear process," he added.
When asked why the discussions were carried out with UMECH Construction but the agreement signed with UMECH Land, Chow said it was because they had the same shareholders and directors.
"The PDC management based it on that," he said.