GEORGE TOWN (Aug 12, 2009) , The Sun: The
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) has not approached the
developer of the Kampung Buah Pala land for questioning although graft
reports over the land transaction were filed separately last month by
Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P. Ramasamy and political secretary
to the chief minister, Ng Wei Aik.
Nusmetro Ventures Executive Director Thomas Chan at the press
MACC has not come to us for any investigation," Nusmetro Ventures (P)
Sdn Bhd managing director Thomas Chan said today when queried by
Chan questioned the state’s move to lodge the reports
while wanting to negotiate with the company over compensation and
eviction of the residents.
"It is ironic that the government lodges reports with the MACC, and on the other hand wants to talk us," he said.
He also cautioned that the recent offer of terrace
houses to residents as ex-gratia for them to leave may have
repercussions on the property sector in the state.
He said the move would set a precedent for other
residents who are being evicted to ask for high-end housing to make way
for development projects.
"House buyers in Penang will now have to pay higher
prices due to this case," he said. "It would have an impact on future
projects and other developments." he said, adding that the company
would not accept any more acceptance forms for the terrace houses from
the villagers as the deadline had expired last Friday.
He said only five households from the village had
accepted the offer for the terrace houses. He said 10 other residents
who moved out last year after accepting earlier compensation offers
would also be given the terrace houses instead of low-cost units.
Meanwhile, Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce deputy
chairman Datuk Loh Geok Beng, who was also present, said developers
were wary of pursuing new projects in Penang due to stringent rules,
including restrictions on the hours permitted for construction work.
The state’s current guidelines stipulate that work
can only be carried out from 8am to 6pm, and he noted that work done
within such a time frame would be inadequate.
He also lamented that the municipal councils in the
state had been dishing out too many stop-work orders that were
detrimental to the developers and contractors.
He said figures from the Construction Industry
Development Board (CIDB) showed that Penang had new projects totalling
RM111 million from January to April this year compared with more than
double that amount during the same period last year.
"Since the world economy is bad, the government
should work on activating the domestic economy and encourage local
developers," he said.