THE Penang state government under Pakatan Harapan is a property developer’s government. From the time Lim Guan Eng became chief minister until Chow Kon Yeow’s tenure today, land in Penang is continuously being sold off at a frantic pace, to the detriment of the people.
Facing tough questions in the State Assembly from Opposition leader Datuk Muhamad Yusoff Mohd Noor, Chow was forced to admit that since 2011, the state government, Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and Penang Island City Council (MBPP) have sold a whopping total of 445ha (1,100 acres) of land in Penang, worth RM12.5bil.
This figure is staggering. Besides selling off our land, has the state government no other ideas for economic development?
Chief Minister Chow is using excuses like helping the rakyat and helping the economy recover, to justify the state government’s current mania in selling off large parcels of land. Such conduct is inexcusable.
When Lim was in office, the DAP boldly touted how strong Penang's economy was under the new government. Unfortunately, Chow’s revelations have showed that since 2011, Penang’s shining economic record was largely due to being flush with profit from land sales.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia began in March last year, by which time the state government was already selling off land in full swing. When faced with the economic impact of the pandemic, it still refused to stop.
Selling land at this rate is like killing the goose that lays golden eggs. Is this the "Competent, Accountable and Transparent (CAT)" policy of the Pakatan Penang state government?
Every day, the Federal Opposition wastes no time calling upon the newly-formed Federal Government to listen and accept the opinions of Pakatan Harapan, and for the National Recovery Council to implement them.
However, the Pakatan-led Penang government itself has resorted to such inefficient methods to raise capital by frantically selling off land, in order to paint a rosy illusion of the state's economic stability.
Are we supposed to believe that, if they were to work together with the central government, their advice will help lift the country out of the current economic troubles Malaysia faces?
The responsibility of the Pakatan Penang state government is to ensure that the people of Penang can live and work in peace and prosperity after the pandemic subsides; not to create an illusion of economic success.
Therefore, the state government should come up with concrete plans for economic recovery that will help the rakyat, instead of just selling land.
DATUK TAN TEIK CHENG
MCA Vice President
MCA Penang State Liaison Committee Chairman