GEORGE TOWN, June 5 — The Penang government will only allow shipbuilding activities on a piece of private land on Pulau Jerejak that was put up for sale by the landowner recently.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng expressed “shock” over the news and said the landowner Boustead Holdings Berhad did not tell the state government it intended to sell a 10.7ha piece of land on the east coast of Pulau Jerejak.
“They did not discuss this with us about it so this came as a shock to us but now, I want to give a reminder to all those putting in an express of interest for the land that the land can only be used for shipbuilding,” he told a press conference at his office today.
He added that he found out the news through a reporter.
Boustead, through a property agent, WTW Real Estate Sdn Bhd, had advertised in Kwong Wah Yit Poh last week that the land was for sale and is open for bidding that ends on July 6.
In the property details listed by WTW Real Estate that Lim’s office handed out to the media today, the land is a 99-year leasehold land that expires in 2072 and that it is designated for industrial use.
Lim stressed the state government will not allow any request for the change of land use for the piece of land.
“This is a reminder to all those who put in an expression of interest for the land, be reminded that the state will not entertain any requests for change of land use, don’t even dream of it, we won’t approve, we will only allow it to remain as a shipyard, which is the present land use,” he said.
When asked if the state government could acquire the land instead, Lim said “it is too expensive”.
“It is very expensive land, where can we get the money to buy it,” he said.
He suggested that Boustead could perhaps offer to build warships at its Pulau Jerejak shipyard for Malaysia instead, noting that Putrajaya recently bought four vessels from China.
“Maybe Boustead can build the warships in Penang,” he said.
Lim said the state had already approved a mixed development project for the former resort land, about 32ha of land on the small island.
“We will not approve any other projects on the island, we need to conserve it, so this land will only remain as a shipbuilding land,” he said.
Tropical Island Resort Sdn Bhd, together with Ideal Properties, will be redeveloping the 32ha land to build 1,200 luxurious houses, a marian, hotels, a theme park, a cycling track and a bridge linking the small island to the main Penang Island.
Pulau Jerejak was previously a quarantine centre for immigrants before it was used as a leprosy sanitarium and later, a prison.