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Rahman Dahlan: Taman Manggis Now A RM59 Million Issue

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PUTRAJAYA: Evidence of the alleged sale of a controversial plot of land earmarked for affordable housing in Taman Manggis, Penang has surfaced despite a denial by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The documents pertaining to the sale of shares was disclosed by Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan at a press conference on Tuesday.

“The Penang Chief Minister has denied that the land had been sold to a third party. But what he did not disclose is that the land is now held by the Kuala Lumpur Dental Centre Sdn Bhd (KLIDC) and the sale of the shares of KLIDC has the same effect of selling the land,” the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister said.

Abdul Rahman further argued that the land was then subsequently resold by KLIDC to a third party five years later for RM70.6mil with a projected profit of RM59mil, despite the core project being undeveloped.

The two documents provided by Abdul Rahman were signed and stamped Sale and Purchase Agreements dated Nov 11, 2015. The purchase price of the sub-sale transaction of the land was listed at RM70,643,628.

However, the name of the latest buyer of the land was blacked out.

“When read simultaneously, the two agreements appear to effect the sale of the Medical Centre and Hotel project with the core asset being the land at Taman Manggis,” he said.

Abdul Rahman questioned whether the Penang state government had been notified of the sale in November and whether it has given approval for it.

“The land was originally sold to KLIDC on June 16, 2010 when DAP Penang government had awarded it under a controversial RGP process at RM11,552,208 or at RM232 per square foot – a price many believe was grossly lower than the market value at the time,” he said.

“With the revelation before you today, on face value, the land previously allocated for public housing to benefit he poor has been sold to a private company at an allegedly underpriced value, without noticeable physical works on the land for almost six years after the award,” he said.

Abdul Rahman said that team would be submitting the relevant documents to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police later Tuesday.

The land at Penang’s Taman Manggis had initially been gazetted by the state government to build affordable houses.

However, the plan for the People’s Housing Project (PPR) on the remaining 0.5ha plot in Taman Manggis was replaced with a proposal for a mixed development project in 2005.

Lim said that the state government had found the size of the Taman Manggis land unsuitable for low-cost housing.

He added that the state government had moved the affordable housing project to a land which was over ten times bigger at Jalan SP Chellilah.

The latest 24-storey hotel and hospital project in the controversial plot is now put on hold after public criticism.

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