Penang ready to reveal land reclamation pacts

The Penang government says it will take some time before the public can access documents on land reclamation agreements.

The Penang executive council has approved the declassification of land reclamation agreements signed under the previous and present state governments.

Local government exco Chow Kon Yeow said the matter was being looked into by state secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus and state legal adviser Datuk Aliza Sulaiman.

He said before the documents were made public, the legal adviser must study the agreements for clauses which may prevent the public disclosure of the contents.

“They are studying the legality of making the documents public.

“The documents will be compiled and a report submitted to the exco during our next meeting for endorsement.

“So it will take a little more time before the public can access the documents but we expect that the documents will be ready early next month. After that, we will announce when the public can get them,” he told reporters after an exco meeting yesterday.

On Sunday, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he would propose that the documents be declassified after civil group Penang Forum said the state government should present the data and facts to the public on how the state could be liable for RM1 billion, instead of “throwing bewildering plethora of numbers randomly”.

Lim said the Penang government could not suspend any land reclamation projects that had been approved without risking legal action that could lead the state to pay compensation amounting to RM1 billion.

Lim said this after Barisan Nasional’s Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhamad Farid Saad tabled a motion at the recent state legislative assembly to compel the state to subject all land reclamation projects to public hearings and to put on hold new projects until oceanic and detail studies could be done.

Lim today said the state government has no problem revealing everything but the legal adviser wanted to check the terms in the documents.

“Maybe there is some clause in the agreement that only allows certain things to be revealed.

“The legal adviser wants to be sure so let her do her job and study the documents.” - The Malaysian Insider

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