Suspend PDC land deal, ex-DCM Ramasamy says

P Ramasamy says there are many unanswered questions to the deal between the state government agency and a construction company.

(FMT) – Former deputy chief minister P Ramasamy has called for the suspension of a land deal between Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and a private construction company, as there were several unanswered questions.

Ramasamy also claimed that the deal for the 226ha land owned by a state agency went against procedure.

It was reported that the land was sold through direct negotiation to UMECH Construction Sdn Bhd in April to develop an industrial park.

Chief minister Chow Kon Yeow defended the sale, citing lack of interest on the land, with a PDC sub-committee allowing its sale.

But Ramasamy, who was part of the sub-committee, questioned how UMECH Construction sold the land to UMECH Land Sdn Bhd, with Sunway Berhad eventually taking a majority stake in UMECH Land.

Ramasamy said there was also a question of the land being sold lower than market rate, as claimed by the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

“Based on these grounds, I think that in the interest of the public, the land sale should be suspended,” he told reporters in Perai today.

Ramasamy said he found it incredulous that Chow was not aware of Sunway’s majority stake in UMECH Land, which was acquired by the listed developer two days before a deal was struck last month.

“We expect Chow to be transparent, not giving a blind defence. The more you defend, the more indefensible it becomes. He has to bite the bullet on this, call a special meeting and suspend the deal,” he said.

He also questioned the price of RM26.53 per sq ft offered to UMECH Construction, claiming that the market value for the land was at RM80 per sq ft.

Ramasamy also rubbished Chow’s statement that the land was located next to a landfill and was, therefore, unattractive to investors.

“It apparently never crossed the minds of those in PDC that there is a flip side to investors locating their companies near landfills to obtain carbon credits,” he said.

He also said PDC should suspend the officers who approved the sale.

Describing the corporation as a “lethargic elephant in dire need of change”, he said he had proposed for it to be revamped, but nothing materialised.

FMT is reaching out to Sunway for comment.