GEORGE TOWN, Aug 1 — The Penang state government has not given up its bid to acquire a piece of land and two gowdowns in Victoria Street here despite the court’s decision to revert the land back to its former owner.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state government will appeal the decision in the hope that it can proceed with its original plan of setting up a heritage learning centre there.
He said lawyers acting for the land owner had also made an out of court settlement offer without the need for the case to be brought to the Court of Appeal.
“We are considering the offer but that does not deny our right to appeal,” he told reporters when asked on the latest situation of the case.
Chow explained that the project to restore and upgrade the two dilapidated gowdowns had to be stopped after the land owner went to court to challenge the state’s authority to acquire them through the Land Acquisition Act.
The court eventually decided in favour of the land owner on the grounds that the state government had no authority to take over the land for education, as education matters come under the Federal Government’s purview.
Chow said the state government had paid the land owner an unspecified amount as compensation when it took over the land before it began developing the RM10 million project in March 2017.
The appointed contractors had even completed early restoration works, demolished some parts of the buildings and installed a temporary roof.
“The costs for the works undertaken came up to about RM1 million but in view of the court’s decision, the state government and the project manager, Penang Development Corporation (PDC) had to stop the restoration works and file an appeal,” he said.
The contractors have also been paid for work done, he added. — Bernama