Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng gets a pat on the back from state BN for making the right decision to recover losses.
GEORGE TOWN: Barisan Nasional (BN) welcomed the state government’s plan to take legal action to recover losses pertaining to the multi-million ringgit Pulau Jerejak project fiasco.
State BN working committee chairman Teng Hock Nan hailed Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s decision to sue Tropical Island Resort (TIR) Sdn Bhd to recover RM10.6 million in land premium arrears over the earmarked 32.3-hectare project site in the resort island.
Pulau Jerejak is located just off the main island’s south-easterly coastline.
Teng commended Lim for heeding BN’s call to sue anyone deemed responsible for any wrongdoing pertaining to the estimated RM220 million “back to nature” Pulau Jerejak project.
“Lim has taken the right approach,” said Teng, the state Gerakan chairman.
On Wednesday, Lim announced that the state government would file a suit against TIR to recover the outstanding sum.
TIR is a company jointly owned by Penang Development Corporation (PDC – 49%) and Urban Development Authority (UDA – 51%).
PDC has invested 45% of the RM31.5 million capital investment for the Pulau Jerejak project, which was to be carried out in four phases.
The first two phases – clearing the project site and constructing a resort hotel – have been completed.
But the previous Barisan Nasional government could not complete the final two phases after it lost in the last general election.
Lim has said that the project undertaken by the previous administration had incurred a deficit of RM30 million.
The DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat state government has printed about 150,000 flyers to inform the people on the losses and urged the previous administration to return the money.
It listed the RM30 million deficit to RM10.6 million in unpaid land premiums to the Penang land administrator, RM15.44 million in investment cost, and a RM3.6 million unsettled loan from TIR.
Lim has also challenged BN to sue the state government if he was not telling the truth over the Pulau Jerejak fiasco.
Teng on Tuesday has called on Lim to take appropriate action to recover the outstanding sum from the developer and on anyone responsible for any wrongdoing.
Penang BN has chided Lim for abusing his position and using public funds to print the flyers.
BN information chief Musa Syeikh Fadzir rebuked Lim for playing “childish politics” and challenging BN to sue the state government.
Teng said Lim had finally “done the right thing”, rather than wasting public funds to print and distribute leaflets to misinform the people with half truths.
He chided Lim’s government for openly demanding the previous BN administration helmed by former chief minister Koh Tsu Koon to pay up for the so-called loss of RM30 million.
He said that a check at the Registrar of Companies showed TIR had only suffered book value losses of RM18.5 million while PDC, RM9 million pertaining to the project as of December 2009.
“It’s only book losses, not actual losses,” he explained, noting that the state government still owned the development site land vis-a-vis PDC.
The land value was RM47.6 million in 2001 and he said its value now would surely have gone up three- to four-fold.
“It was futile politicking solely aimed at tarnishing BN and Koh’s image and credibility.
“Lim should have taken the right recourse in the first instance, instead of finding fault and going after the wrong target which he had done many times previously,” said Teng.
Nonetheless, he insisted that Gerakan and BN would continue to play a constructive role to monitor the performance of the state government without fear or favour.