Guan Eng: I will not apologise

(The Star) – Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he will not apologise for describing the Tang Hak Ju land deal as a scandal or land scam.

“If Penang Barisan Nasional working committee chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan is not happy, he can sue me or the state government but we will not apologise,” he said.

“Teng has said the state government did not lose RM40mil but RM500,000 following the Court of Appeal’s decision which ruled in the state government’s favour.

“But please remember, the court’s decision is not final because there is an appeal to the Federal Court,” Lim said to reporters after opening the newly upgraded Pulau Tikus market yesterday.

He claimed the previous Barisan state government caused the scandal which caused losses to Penang.

Lim said the state had deposited about RM15mil with the High Court over the case.

“Can we get back the RM15mil? If we cannot, is Teng going to pay?

On Feb 19, 2009, the High Court ordered the state government to deposit RM14,678,135 with the court.

In 2001, Tang had leased a piece of land in Seberang Prai from the state government which was later found to be privately owned.

On Oct 4, 2005, a High Court decided in favour of Tang, who had sued the Penang Chief Minister, state secretary and state financial officer over a 4.3ha land deal.

Tang was awarded RM29.3mil in damages. With interest, the sum is now over RM40mil.

“It is still a scandal. The only question is whether the state has to pay RM40mil or RM500,000. We do not know the final outcome,” Lim said.

It was reported yesterday that Teng demanded that the Penang Government apologise to the people and withdraw terms such as “land scam” and “scandal” in reference to the Tang Hak Ju land deal as they have criminal connotations.

Teng said the present state government led by Lim should do so following the overturning of the High Court’s ruling by the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya.

On Jan 11, the Court of Appeal set aside a High Court ruling which ordered the state government to pay Tang RM40mil, including interests and instead ordered the state to pay the plaintiff RM500,000 for incidental expenses.