Another reminder that the state won't approve development projects of the land, which is in his constituency.
PETALING JAYA: Penang’s chief minister, Lim Guan Eng, has given 1MDB another warning that the state would not approve development or transfers of a big parcel of land it owns in Air Itam, part of which lies in Lim’s constituency.
The chief minister’s warning, the latest in a series of similar announcements since 2014, came after news reports that 1MDB had shortlisted two Penang-based companies in a tender to take over development of the land.
1Malaysia Development Bhd, owned by the Finance Ministry, bought a total of 234 acres of land in the area in 2013 for RM1.38 billion and had plans to build 10,000 flats and affordable homes.
Political analysts have said that Lim feared that the development, bringing in a large number of residents, would affect his electoral chances in the future.
Lim was quoted yesterday as saying that the state government would not allow any transaction involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd land without his approval. Lim heads the state land committee which oversees land matters.
He said the Federal Government and housing developers could bid for the land but the state would not approve any land transfer that involved 1MDB, Star Online reported.
“Don’t play play with us, I have given multiple warnings. We will not approve the land transfer,” he said, according to the Sun Daily.
However, it was not immediately clear whether 1MDB was transferring ownership of the land or development rights.
Since 2014, Lim has repeatedly applied pressure on 1MDB about the deal, with reminders of his power over land, and questioning the ownership of the land and the size of the deal.
According to the Star, he said yesterday: “We are still waiting for a report from the Government and I hope whoever bids for the land will remember that any transaction involving it will not be approved.”
He also gave another reminder that the land was occupied by 3,000 residents and applied further pressure on 1MDB on the grounds of public interest.
Two companies have been named as having been short-listed by 1MDB: a joint venture between prominent local developers Ideal Property and BSG groups, and a company related to Goh Choon Lye, another well-known developer in Penang.
BSG group is also involved in another controversial project involving land reclamation off the south coast as payment for building a cross-channel tunnel mooted by Lim as part of RM28 billion Penang transport master plan.