It’s pot calling the kettle black


(The Star) – Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has been taken to task for blaming the previous Barisan Nasional state government for approving land reclamation when the present one had benefited from the projects.

Parti Cinta Malaysia president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan (pic) said Lim should not blame Barisan for approving the reclamation as he has already used the fruits of these conversions to pay for his current projects.

He claimed that the state government had given at least RM133mil worth of reclaimed land to the consortium carrying out the RM305mil feasibility study for the proposed three highway and undersea tunnel projects worth RM6.3bil.

He was certain that the RM6.3bil worth of land to be used to pay the consortium should the four projects proceed would come from Seri Tanjung Pinang 1 and Seri Tanjung Pinang 2, both of which were reclamation projects approved by Barisan.

The four projects are the 6.5km undersea tunnel connecting Gurney Drive to Bagan Ajam, 12km Tanjung Bungah-Teluk Bahang paired road, 4.6km bypass connecting Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway with Bandar Baru Air Itam, and 4.2km bypass connecting Gurney Drive to the expressway.

It was previously reported that the undersea tunnel is projected for completion by 2025 while the other three projects are scheduled to be completed between 2018 and 2022.

Lim had previously said that the state might go bankrupt if the Tanjung Pinang land reclamation project was postponed.

He made the comments in the wake of a controversy resulting from a motion on reclamation tabled by Muhamad Farid Saad (BN-Pulau Betong) at the state assembly sitting last Friday.

The motion attracted attention when DAP assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu voted for it together with all the nine Barisan assemblymen present in the House while five PKR backbenchers abstained.

Twenty-three others (18 from DAP, four from PKR and one from PAS) voted against the motion which had called for public hearings to be held for all projects and concessions involving land reclamation for development as an exchange to fund the cost of infrastructure or public transport projects or any other development.

The motion had also called for the suspension of all new land reclamation plans in the state until a detailed study on their environmental and social impacts were carried out, and to cancel such plans if they had negative effects.

Huan claimed Lim was trying to push the blame to Barisan on past reclamation when the motion was more to prevent future reclamation.

“What is wrong with having more transparency and oversight in future land reclamation projects?” he asked yesterday.

Huan said he was also curious how the state government would pay for its RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan since the land it owned was depleting fast due to the selling or trading away of such land in recent years.

He also said Lim should not demean his PKR partners as they were free to vote even if the results upset him.

“If the five voted according to conscience not to support Lim, the PKR exco members voted based on their conscience to support him. He is not god or the father of all the PKR assemblymen to decide who has conscience and who doesn’t,” Huan added.

Lim yesterday hit out at PKR coordinating bureau chairman Datuk Johari Abdul for supporting the five PKR backbenchers who abstained from voting.

He asked if Johari was aware that the five assemblymen did not inform their state leaders prior to the vote.

Lim also said Johari might not be aware that there were still about 1,011ha that had been approved by the previous Barisan government for reclamation but yet to be done.

Johari had reportedly said that he was satisfied with the explanation given by the five.

“The motion was not partisan, rather it was relevant to the environment and public interest. We respect the differences in opinion because it is healthy democracy,” he had said.