Documents to show that Penang BN lied about the development of a private hospital, have been brought out by state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh.

NONEPhee (right), who is Sungai Puyu assemblyperson, showed to the press yesterday a letter dated May 2, by which the Health Ministry informed the medical centre - Victoria Specialist Centre - that its application was not approved.

However, the ministry also stated that if Victoria was interested in pursuing the application, it would have to submit a feasibility study, development plans and other supporting documents.

State BN chief Teng Chang Yeow said on Tuesday that the Health Ministry had on June 5 issued the approval for a private hospital to operate on Jalan Zainal Abidin/Lorong Selamat.

Teng then took Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to task for his July 19 statement, in which Lim said the licence for the private hospital had been rejected. The company had submitted an application for planning permission on Sept 23 last year.

Teng said he was informed by a Health Ministry officer, via a text message on July 21, that the application to build a hospital had been approved.

"I do not agree with this statement and I will prove that it is not true," said Phee, who is chairperson of the state public health committee.

Questionable allegations

Phee said a letter extended to the state government and received on July 20 states that the Health Ministry has no objection to the 52-bed hospital's application for a license to operate in Penang.

However, the hospital administration had to submit its application according to the relevant format; that it would be processed within six months and questions on the procedures could be found on the ministry's website.

"This is clearly not an approval but a letter to indicate that the ministry has no objection to the hospital applying for approval and permission to operate," Phee said.

"The letter was sent by Pos Laju and it was on the same day that Lim announced the state government would return the money (obtained from the sale of land) back to the developer of the hospital - Kuala Lumpur International Dental Corporation Sdn. Bhd," Phee added.

The letter was received in the afternoon while Lim's statement was made at a press conference in the morning.

'Bid to tarnish state government'

Phee said Teng and the Health Ministry were "designing and scheming to run down the state government".

NONEThe ministry's officer - whoever he or she was who texted Chang Yeow (left) - might have misled him as there was no such approval.

"Chang Yeow is childish, even though he is a senior politician. These are simple things. Is he lazy, did he fail to do his homework or is he a liar? Or could it be that he does not understand Malay?" asked Phee.

"How can he say a decision has been made (on the approval) when it was not provided by the Health Ministry? It was also a Saturday (a non-working day) when Chang Yeow said the official texted him," Phee added.

"If indeed there is approval, it was a false decision. There is no such approval given on June 5. Teng has to improve his scriptwriting," Phee added.

Teng: Letter still contardicts Lim's statement 

In his response shortly afterwards, Teng said the disclosure of the 'tiada bantahan' or no objection letter from the Ministry of Health to the company’s application still "contradicted" Lim's statement.

He said the "contentious issue" was not the license to operate a private hospital on that piece of land earmarked by the previous administration for low-cost housing for rental but why land for low cost housing was sold to build private hospital and a 19-storey hotel.

The people are puzzled that the land was sold through an open tender, as claimed by the state, with a guarantee to obtain approval from the ministry for the company to operate a private hospital, Teng said in a statement.

"Otherwise, the state government should explain why it has to refund the company RM10 million for cancelling the project when it failed to obtain a licence from the Health Ministry as stated by the chief minister," he said.

Teng said the site had been earmarked for low-cost housing for rental and the project had been proven with a memo from the then state director of housing and local government to the then state secretary.

This memo was shown to the press during the Gerakan press conference on July 19.