Will Guan Eng continue to give excuses to acquire the land back from Nusmetro

By Naragan N

A leading lawyer in the country on land matters Derek Fernandez said “…. the state government can take back the land, based on a caveat in the 99-year lease document issued by the land registrar. I have discovered a serious weakness in the landowner Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang Bhd and Nusmetro's claim on the land.

It is issued with the restriction 'tanah yang diberi milik ini tidak boleh dipindah milik, cagar, pajak, pajakan kecil atau sebarang bentuk urusniaga' (the land cannot be transferred, mortgaged, pawned, sub-let or used as a business instrument.)

This restriction reduces the cooperatives to an end-user as it can build houses for members only. It cannot enter into a joint venture to develop the land or sell units to third party.

The developer cannot claim loss of market value or gross development loss as the land cannot be developed in the first place. It (the land) has no commercial value without the state consent to develop it. Hence, with this it can be easily acquired back by the Penang government.

What this amounts to now is this. There opens a tremendous opportunity for the Guan Eng to acquire the land with a “stroke of the pen” invoking section 76 of the National Land code and return it to the Villagers and settle this problem once and for all. The compensation to the cooperative will now be nowhere near the $150 million he and his stooges have been touting all this while. The state government certainly has the resources now to pay for the acquisition.

The ball is clearly in his court. He has been dodging this all this while. We wait to see if he will dodge this one as well. The cat will soon be out of the bag, Mr.Guan Eng.