Rep: Set up panel to probe land conversion

AN assemblyman has called on the Penang Government to set up a committee to look into the land conversion of the 280,000sq m property project on the island’s south- eastern foreshore that is now a major commercial area.

Batu Uban assemblyman S. Raveentharan said that the state government should call for a dialogue with the former state government to shed light onto the land conversion, that he claimed, was against the National Land Code (NLC) 1965.

“The previous state government owes Penangites an explanation on how reclaimed land could be converted from leasehold to freehold.

“The NLC is clear. Reclaimed land on sea-bed cannot be converted from leasehold to freehold,” he said after opening Kampung Batu Uban’s new Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) hall on Saturday.

Raveentharan, a practising lawyer, said he brought up the matter in a written question to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in July’s state assembly when he asked how reclaimed coastal land in Batu Uban and Pantai Jerejak had been made freehold.

It was reported last week that the property project in question was originally on a reclaimed land area under the state authority.

It was meant to be developed into a marina and leisure resort but the developer failed to deliver the project due to the economic slowdown in the late 1990s.

The land was then alienated to the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and later sold to another developer. Since then, the status of the land had been converted to freehold.

The current development is reportedly worth RM3bil and its masterplan includes bungalows, seafront villas, condominiums, apartments, shoplots, hotel and a shopping mall.

Lim had defended the conversion as an effort by the previous state government to revive the project after it was abandoned.

Raveentharan said he was concerned with what would happen to the people who had bought the properties on the reclaimed land that had been marked as freehold.

“If it is against the NLC to convert the land status, it could make the sales of the said properties null and void,” he said.

Raveentharan claimed that land on a major development project in Tanjung Tokong has also been converted to freehold.

by The Star

No comments