GEORGE TOWN, March 31 — The media attention on Taman Manggis was behind the delay in the Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre’s (KLIDC) proposed hospital and hotel project for the site, claimed state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow.
The local government and traffic management committee chairman said the KLIDC was having trouble securing financing for the project, which he linked to the corruption claims surrounding the land.
“Now, with all this media attention and controversy on the land, it will be even harder for them to get loan to develop it,” he told reporters at a press conference today.
He said KLIDC had submitted an application for planning permission on February 12, 2014 to build one block of 24-storey building consisting of a hospital, car parks and hotel suites.
Planning approval was given on November 18, 2014 and the building plan as approved on April 7, 2015.
However, Chow said the company did not apply for a start-work order and the planning permission, which only lasted for a year, has since lapsed.
“This means, they will need to submit another application for planning approval but so far they have not submitted any application,” he said.
He added this could be due to the current controversies surrounding the land following accusations of corruption against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over his house purchase that was linked to the sale of this land by the state to KLIDC.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) is currently investigating Lim over these allegations, after numerous reports were lodged against him.
When asked whether the company had breached its tender agreement that stipulates a completion time, Chow said he is not prepared to answer this yet.
He reiterated that the land was sold through open tender to KLIDC and that all relevant documents pertaining to the issue have been handed to MACC for its investigations.
As for Barisan Nasional’s (BN) allegations that the state sold the land at below market value, Chow said the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) had valued the land at RM8.5 million on August 27, 2009 when the tender was held.
“The open tender was based on the valuation by JPPH, a federal agency, not just any values and the tender submitted by KLIDC was RM11.5 million which is higher than valued,” he said.
He then told BN and Penang Gerakan to explain how they had arrived at the RM22.4 million sum that they had insisted was the actual value of the land.