Just heard from a reliable source that Dato Sri Kamal Hashim, the chairman of Abad Naluri, has resigned from his position with immediate effect.
Kamal Hashim is presently the northern region director of The Star, which gave the launch of the PGCC by the prime minister last year prominent coverage.
It is also believed that the Prime Minister and his family are now distancing themselves from Patrick Lim, whose dealings exposed the BN to stinging criticism in the run-up to the general election – from opposition parties as well as from Mahathir.
Abad Naluri is the developer of the controversial PGCC project and was supposed to sign an agreement to buy and develop 300 acres of land in Batu Kawan as a replacement race-course for the Penang Turf Club.
These deals have been shrouded in controversy, and it is widely believed that powerful vested interests were the driving force behind them. In particular, the Penang state government has been asked to probe deeper and find out how Abad Naluri could end up buying 750 acres of prime land right next to the site of the proposed second bridge for Penang.
So who was really behind these land deals? As at October last year, the directors of Abad Naluri were Patrick Lim, Md Isahak bin Md Yusuf, Kamal Mohamed Hashim bin Che Din and Chin Pei Fung.
While much has been said of Patrick Lim’s interest in the PGCC, this could be a red herring as his Taman Equine firm only has a 25 per cent stake in the PGCC developer, Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd.
So who are the other major shareholders of Abad Naluri, which had an issued capital of only RM519,867? A company search revealed that the firm’s other main shareholders were Syed Jalaludin bin Syed Salim (Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Dr) (24 per cent) stake and Aneka Mayang Sdn Bhd (46 per cent). The rest were mainly small Chinese Malaysian shareholders holding 100 shares each.
Now let’s look at Abad Naluri’s biggest shareholder, Aneka Mayang Sdn Bhd. Surprise, surprise, Aneka Mayang is a RM2 company! One share each is held by, yes, Syed Jalaludin again and the other by Idris bin Denan. Imagine, a RM2 company has a 46 per cent interest in Abad Naluri, which in turn was supposed to undertake the RM25 billion PGCC project! Only in Malaysia…
Any of these individuals and firms could be proxies for other more powerful interests.
Although the end of the PGCC project is nigh, this does not mean we are going to get a People’s Park in Batu Gantong tomorrow.
For, would you believe it, certain members of the Turf Club are now salivating at the prospect of making a tidy profit from “developing” the Batu Gantung land for private gain.
A prominent member has circulated a proposal which would involve members buying the 259-acre plot of land from the Turf Club for RM488 million.
Under the proposal, the members would allocate 180 acres out of the 259 acres for property development. Basically, they want to build 581 bungalows (each 7,000-8,000 sq ft) and sell them to the members at RM100 sq ft. (The Turf Club has 581 members.) They also want to build a further 140 bungalows for sale to the public at RM200 sq ft.
Incidentally, the market value of the land is now around 250 sq ft.
Under this proposal, the profit from this property development would be RM115 million, which would be donated to charity. (But the members would already profit from buying the bungalows at a discounted price of only RM100 sg ft, which means each member would in effect make a cool unrealised profit of around RM1 million on top of the RM20,000 they had earlier received.)
The proposal also involves the members handing over the unused 79 acres as “open space” for a public park to the Penang state government. Wah, so generous! But hang on a minute – this “open space” is actually hill land and cemetery land (which cannot be developed in the first place) for crying out loud. Now I wonder how many people fancy strolling around hill-slopes and tombstones for their leisurely morning and evening walks.
Imagine, whoever came up with this hare-brained, land-grabbing proposal dares to call it a “win-win situation for all parties concerned”.
Let’s be clear. The land does not belong to individual Turf Club members so that they can profit from it. It was handed over to the Penang Turf Club by the State in 1935 for recreational use. The only reason we got into this mess is that the previous state government, with the connivance of vested interests, re-zoned this land to “mixed development”. It is time the new state government put a stop to this nonsense of certain quarters eyeing this precious green lung and wanting to “develop” it for personal profit. The land and surrounding areas should remain a heritage enclave and the only way that can happen is if the new state government re-zones the land back to its original status as “recreational” and turns it into a permanent People’s Park.
That should keep away the greedy vultures, now circling in the air while eyeing the carcass of the still-born PGCC below.