So the Penang Turf Club held its AGM yesterday, and I gather a lot of questions were raised. But so far I haven’t seen any public comments made by Turf Club officials.
A reliable source told me that the original agreement between the Penang Turf Club and Abad Naluri has actually lapsed as Patrick Lim had failed to deliver the replacement race-course in Batu Kawan as scheduled. Apparently, a supplementary agreement was entered into earlier this month to allow for an extension of three years so that it now ends in 2011. (The report below indicates that the deadline is now 2011.) And there is no clause in this supplementary agreement pertaining to an extension, which means it can be extended again in 2011.
If there was indeed an extension, on what basis did the outgoing committee negotiate an extension? All Patrick Lim’s Abad Naluri has done is pay RM10 million of the original sum of RM488 million for the Batu Gantung land. As alluded to earlier, Patrick Lim has not paid a single sen on the Batu Kawan racecourse land (see report below). Why, he probably hasn’t even signed the S&P with the PDC for the Batu Kawan land. Tell us, who was really behind the Batu Kawan land deal…
The Penang Turf Club owes the public an explanation. So does Patrick Lim. I hope Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng will also reveal the outcome of the State Government’s investigation into the case soon. There needs to be a thorough investigation into the whole deal and how the land status was quietly rezoned from recreational status to “mixed development”.
As one concerned Penangite noted, the vested interests behind the PGCC deal stand “to lose an enormous investment unless they can pull something off. They have friends in high places who are allied with them in the PGCC enterprise and the new men in Komtar are going to come under great pressure to compromise. The problems of Equine/Abad Naluri must not be allowed to become Penang’s problems.”
Let’s hope the new state government does not compromise with those responsible for this stinking deal. It is worth remembering that the state allocated the 230-acre Batu Gantong site to the Penang Turf Club in 1935 for a nominal sum of RM250,000 for recreational use – and not for property development or for private gain. It is time for the Penang State Government to regazette the land back to recreational use, before anyone else gets any other “bright” ideas.
This is a report from theSun:
Turf Club will not extend deadline to Abad Naluri
Regina William, Bernard Cheah, Opalyn Mok and Husna Yusop
PENANG (April 7, 2008): The Penang Turf Club (PTC) today gave advance notice that it will not extend the deadline given to a property developer for the completion of the new racecourse in Batu Kawan after March 30, 2011.
In the club’s annual general meeting, members agreed that Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd will have to make good the agreement signed on March 23, 2003, for the completion of the new racecourse on the mainland by that date.
PTC member Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping, who spoke to reporters after the AGM, said no extension will be given after that.
“Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd has to build the new racecourse to the satisfaction of PTC members and if they don’t deliver, there will be no extension given. If halfway through the period and nothing is done, a RM10,000 penalty will be imposed each day.
“Members raised the issue about the new racecourse following latest developments and we were told that Abad Naluri has yet to complete the sale and purchase agreement with the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and has yet to pay a single sen to PDC; hence they don’t even own a square inch of land in Batu Kawan,” Tan said to reporters after the AGM.
The deal was for Abad Naluri to complete the racecourse after which the PTC land on Jalan Batu Gantong would be transferred to Abad Naluri for the development of the Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) project.
He said Abad Naluri paid PTC RM10 million on March 23, 2003, after signing the agreement but has yet to pay the rest of the amount due to PTC.
The PTC was bought by Abad Naluri at RM488 million. The deal was that Abad Naluri would build the RM375 million racecourse in Batu Kawan and the rest was to be paid in cash to the PTC.
Tan said members asked why no approval had been given for the PGCC project even though it was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in October 2007.
“Yet why was this not questioned by the Securities Commission? Nothing on this project has been submitted to the Commission,” he added.
Work on the RM25 billion PGCC project, which is included in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) blueprint, was supposed to start early 2009.
In December 2002, the PDC board approved the sale of 300ha in Batu Kawan to Syarikat Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd.
According to its principal agreement dated Jan 16, 2004, about 180ha was targeted for mixed development and the remainder for the proposed new racecourse.
To date, only land clearing and earthworks at the site had been done in December 2005. The site is located right next to that for the second Penang Bridge which links Batu Kawan on the mainland to Batu Maung on the island.
At its launch, Abdullah had said there should not be any unnecessary delays in the issuance of approvals for the project.
However, following public outcry against the project, earlier this year, ex-Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the developer had been asked to scale down the project and amend its development plans.
The fate of the project is now hanging in the balance following the trouncing of the Barisan Nasional in Penang. After he took over as Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng had said no approval had been given for the project at all, and as such the question of reviewing the project did not arise.