Penang DCM: Kg Buah Pala dispute is another land scam

(The Star) GEORGE TOWN: The Kampung Buah Pala land dispute is another example of a land scam plaguing the state, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy said.

He said the state government intended to lodge a police report “very soon” based on preliminary investigations into the case.

He said there were hints of foul play in the land transfer from the previous state government to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd.

“We have been going through the minutes of the exco meetings when the decision was made to lease the land to the co-operative and some of the remarks made by the state exco members were shocking,” he told reporters after the launch of month-long anniversary celebrations of George Town’s listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site at the Town Hall.

Dr Ramasamy claimed that two other companies applied to develop the land before the co-operative but both applications were rejected.

“Why was the application by the co-operative approved and at RM10 a sq ft, which is unheard of for prime land?” he said.

“On top of that, the co-operative was given a 50% discount to buy the (2.6ha) land at only RM3.2mil,” he said.

He said former chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had agreed to the lease because the co-operative was “not profit-orientated” while former deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah had pushed for the discount on the basis that the co-operative had to pay compensation to the residents.

“Dr Koh cannot wash his hands from this case,” said Dr Ramasamy, who is the deputy chairman of a state investigating committee looking into the matter.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, meanwhile, said that the issue was a “Barisan Nasional-created problem” and that the Federal Government could not wash its hands of it.

He said the fiasco was a mistake of the previous government.