Saturday 21 July 2012

Penang Umno duo admit sale of Balik Pulau land

The two Penang Umno leaders accused of selling a plot of land in Balik Pulau and profiting from it have admitted they did so, however claiming that they were forced to do this because their company was ‘blacklisted’ by the state government.

NONEUmno Bukit Gelugor division head Omar Faudzar (right) denied allegations that their company sold the 4ha of land in Kampung Terang which they purchased from villagers, and reaped a profit of RM5 million in just four months.

“We were forced to sell the land as our company (Aseania Group of Companies) was blacklisted,” Omar, also the state BN strategy implemention chief, was quoted in The Star today as saying.

Omar said that every development project must go through the state planning committee chairperson - Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng - for approval.

“For instance, when we submitted a plan to build semi-detached houses in Bandar Perda in 2011, we were told to pay RM516,000 premium to build affordable housing, he claimed during a press conference in Penang yesterday.

Omar conceded that the land in Kampung Terang was purchased at RM22 per square foot (psf) in October 2010 and sold to a private developer at RM33 psf on January this year.

Guan Eng accused of land grab

This was contrary to allegations made by PKR Balik Pulau division chief Abdul Halim Hussein, that the Umno leaders profited from a sale after four months of purchasing the land.

Abdul Halim - also the Penang legislative assembly speaker - had alleged that Omar, together with state Umno deputy chief Musa Sheikh Fadzir - are shareholders of Mason Height Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Aseania, which sold the land for RM13.5 million after purchasing it from 31 residents.

He was responding to persistent allegations by the state opposition that the Penang government led by Lim had been involved in land grabs, resulting in Malay villagers being evicted from their home land.
Such claims have resulted in many protests by Malay rights pressure group Perkasa, who accused Lim of marginalising the Malay community in Penang.

Meanwhile, Omar claimed that three other companies - Urban Development Authority, JKP Sdn Bhd and Penang Regional Development Authority - were also blacklisted.

But for the past eight years, his company has been involved in building 2,033 low cost and medium cost houses in Balik Pulau priced between RM25,000-RM55,000, he added.

Musa, who is also Umno Bukit Mertajam division chief, dared Abdul Halim instead to speak about the development of the Asian Women Leadership University on 40ha of land in Balik Pulau.

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