Bayan Mutiara land controversy haunting Lim amidst debate

The much touted debate between fiery political leaders Lim Guan Eng and Dr Chua Soi Lek is likely to centre on Chinese politics, economy and religion.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Within the next few hours, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng would spar in a much anticipated debate with MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek, a man known for his firebrand style of politics.

Lim is no pushover himself, as the DAP secretary-general packs his own style of punches and he is known not to pull any of it when confronted with his political opponents.

The issues would mainly be one of Chinese-centric politics to the economy and possibly  religious extremism.

But, likely to sit at the back of Lim’s head would be the Bayan Mutiara land issue, which has become a big controvsersy here.

The issue has hogged the realm of the mainstream and alternative media with crude and sarcasm lines invading the social media networks over the what, why, when, where and how the land was sold.

When, he waddles out of the debate later, this is one issue, which he may be forced to address upon returning to his adopted state.

Despite various clarifications and explanations, Lim must once again answer critics about the Bayan Mutiara land.

Apparently, Penang Umno now has evidence to indicate that Lim had misled the public over the RM1 billion plus sale of the 41.6hectare of reclaimed land off Batu Uban here.

Umno’s proof

State Umno Youth head Shaikh Hussein Mydin has gone so far as to ask Lim to step down now as chief minister and “retire from politics” as the party has evidence Lim had misled the people here over the land.

“It was Lim who challenged Umno to prove that the sale was not done via open-tender. If we cannot prove, we must retire from politics. Now, we have proven it.

“We have documents to reflect that the sale was done through elements of negotiation and not open tender. So Mr Lim, be gentleman enough and step down”,  declared Shaikh Hussein.

Land is a sensitive subject on the land-scare Penang island. Its acute shortage is cited as a reason why the prices of properties here appreciate beyond the reach of an average income earner and is listed as one contributors to the rise in living costs here.

Shaikh Hussein said Lim in his haste to govern Penang like a corporate company, is not realising that the original settlers of Penang, are now been displaced by rich foreigners.

“Is this why, the people voted in DAP? So the rich stay on the island and the poor gets evicted to the mainland.”

There is no single effort to built affordable houses on the island since 2008 and now one piece of state asset, which can be used for mix-development, is sold away to a developer, Shaikh Hussein said.

The wing would also discuss with the Penang Umno chairman Zainal Abidin Osman about lodging reports with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and police over what they described as a possible fraud and an alleged criminal breach of trust over the sale.

Weighing in, Gerakan Bayan Baru division head Wong Mun Hoe said Lim brought the controversy upon himself by initially not answering the questions posed beyond reasonable doubt.

The more Lim tries to rebut, the more controversial it gets, he said.