The Penang Global City Centre project may be dead, but what I don’t understand is why there are no calls for a full-scale inquiry into this massive stinking deal.
The Chief Minister has said that the PGCC, in its original inception, is as good as dead. Notice the choice of words. Does that leave some wriggle-room for the state to consider new proposals from greedy developers or other interested parties on what was once recreational land?
Let’s see who benefits in the end from the PGCC land deals.
After Abad Naluri entered into an agreement in 2004 to buy the land at “recreational status” price, the previous state administration incredibly rezoned the land to new or mixed development, multiplying the land value several times over. This rezoning could land a potential profit of RM1.5 billion to Abad Naluri… RM1.5 billion! (Remember the Turf Club agreement with Abad Naluri has been extended from 2008 to 2011.)
As for the Batu Kawan land on the mainland that the PDC sold to Abad Naluri, what is the status of the 300 acres for the new race-course, which I understand remains unpaid even though more than four years has lapsed since the principal agreement in 2004 and the deadline for payment has been exceeded? Shouldn’t the PDC be taking back the land?
In the first place, on what basis did the PDC enter into a Principal Agreement to sell over 1,000 acres of land in Batu Kawan to an obscure company? And how did Abad Naluri claim during its tender bid in 2002 for the Turf Club land that it already had the Batu Kawan land to build a new race course – when the Principal Agreement between the PDC and Abad Naluri for the land in Batu Kawan was only signed in 2004?
It’s great that the PDC is lodging police and ACA reports against a now-defunct company (in which Ahmad Ismail was once a director) over its failure to return some RM500,000 to the state after a dubious land deal.
But why the silence over 1,000 acres, 1,000 acres!, sold to Abad Naluri – including the 300 acres unpaid?
Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but why is no one calling for a full-scale inquiry into this saga? Batu Kawan wasn’t even raised during the debate between Guan Eng and Tsu Koon while the PGCC was only mentioned in passing when it was one of the most dubious land deals ever. A golden opportunity to corner Tsu Koon was missed for reasons best known to Guan Eng.
Instead other smaller land scams were brought up. It’s like swatting at flies and mosquitoes when you have a snorting bull in the living room staring at you.
By doing nothing about the rezoning, by not setting up an official inquiry, we are effectively “gifting” a huge profit to Abad Naluri – money which could have gone to the state, had it bought the land itself, rezoned it and then sold it to others. By not taking back the unpaid Batu Kawan land, aren’t we allowing time for other developers to come up with similar PGCC-type deals involving relocation of the Turf Club to the mainland?
If mala fide can be found in the whole affair, surely the conversion of the Turf Club land to “new development” could be declared null and void. So why no independent, far-reaching inquiry, which CAT would surely demand?