Guan Eng: I don’t know bungalow market value


In press interview, he says his wife reached an understanding with previous owner to hold the price at RM2.8million.

(FMT) – Lim Guan Eng said today he did not know the market value of the bungalow he bought last year for RM2.8 million. Speaking to reporters invited to view his house, Lim said he was not a property agent.

Lim, who is leader of the DAP and chief minister of Penang, said the price had been agreed between him and the previous owner in 2012.

He said he had not taken it up as he was unsure whether he would be re-elected in the general election the following year, according to Star Online.

He was quoted as saying that the owner had agreed to hold the price at RM2.8 million, based on an understanding with his wife Betty Chew.

“I would not know the price. There was a verbal understanding,” he was quoted as saying.

The house is a double-storey bungalow on 10,000 sq ft of land at No 25 Jalan Pinhorn, off Green Lane in George Town. In Parliament on Thursday, Shahbudin Yahaya, MP for Tasek Gelugor, had said the price was below market value, quoting a figure of RM6-RM6.5 million for comparable houses.

LGE House

Lim said he had decided on the purchase in July last year (about two months after the general election). “I needed to prepare money for the house, including monthly instalments. We needed sufficient funds to pay the balance of the purchase price,” Star Online quoted him as saying.

He has previously said he paid RM700,000 as down payment, with the balance of RM2.1 million on a bank loan. “It was only until I was re-elected and I had enough funds that I decided to purchase it in July last year,” he was quoted as saying.

Lim also made comparisons to the RM20 million mansion in Shah Alam owned by former Selangor Chief Minister Mohd Khir Toyo.

“There is nothing extraordinary inside my house,” Lim was quoted as saying. “It is an upper-middle class house, but not in the Jesselton area in Penang. It is also not the Khir Toyo mansion.”

Khir Toyo was convicted of corruption and sentenced to jail for buying the house at below market value from a developer with whom he had official dealings as menteri besar.

Critics of the Lim bungalow deal have compared it to the Khir Toyo case by linking the bungalow deal to the sale of state government land in Taman Manggis, off Jalan Burmah, which was formerly earmarked for low cost housing. The land was sold to Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre Sdn Bhd for a hospital and hotel project.

Police reports have been filed against Lim and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said it had opened investigations papers on the case.

News reports have pointed out that Phang Li Koon, who bought the bungalow in 2009, is a director in a management company together with Tang Yong Chew, who is believed to own a 60 percent controlling interest in KLIDC.

The Taman Manggis deal sparked controversy in 2012 when it was sold by the state government for RM11.5 million, purportedly at below market price, despite an offer of RM22 million by Barisan Nasional politicians who said they would carry out the second phase of a low cost housing project at the site.

The Taman Manggis site formerly housed government quarters which were torn down when low cost flats were built under the federal government’s Projek Perumahan Rakyat.