Saturday, March 29, 2008

Penang Govt Awaits ACA Report On Dubious Land Deals

Penang Govt Awaits ACA Report On Dubious Land Deals

PENANG, March 28 (Bernama) -- The Penang government is awaiting the Anti-Corruption Agency's (ACA) written report on the dubious land deals in the state to assist its own investigations into the matter, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Friday.

Lim said Penang ACA director Nooraziah Abdul Manap had briefed him this morning about the agency's investigation into the case, but he was not satisfied with it.

Towards this end, he said, a special panel headed by Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin would begin its investigations next week to determine the type of action that could be taken.

Speaking at a news conference at his office, Lim said, the briefing by the ACA director had given the state government a much clearer picture about the case, which had been investigated by the ACA from 2003.

"The ACA completed its investigations two years ago and we are now awaiting the official report. From the information received, there were many people involved. Let's wait for the findings," he said without elaborating.

Lim said further investigations by the state government was necessary not because it was not satisfied with the ACA, but rather, with the findings.

The state government, he said, wanted a more concrete action to be taken to ensure such improprieties, which he said had caused huge losses to the state, would not recur.

Meanwhile, Lim would meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya at 10am on Thursday to discuss state-federal relations.

Lim said he wanted ties between both governments to continue even though there were changes in the state government's leadership.

At the meeting, he said, he would request that projects planned by the federal government in Penang, be continued so long as they benefited the people.

"At the same time, I will also request that allocations under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for the state, be continued. I've received feedback that the allocation for certain agencies under the plan had been reduced by 50 per cent last year.

"I will appeal for the reinstatement of the amount so that projects they are meant for, could be implemented as planned. This is also important to attract investments into the state," he said.

Lim said the state government was also agreeable to the infrastructure projects planned under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), including the monorail project.

"The monorail is among projects proposed by the federal government and if it benefits to people and does not burden them, we are of the views that it should continue," he said.

On the statement by Petronas vice-president (corporate planning and development division) Datuk Nasarudin Md Idris that the national oil corporation was not into funding infrastructure projects, Lim said, the statement was not entirely true.

He pointed out that through various subsidiaries and investments, Petronas had been funding several major projects in Malaysia.

He said KLCC Property Holdings Bhd, which is 51 per cent owned by Petronas, was involved in major projects including the Petronas Twin Towers, Maxis Tower, ExxonMobil Tower, Suria KLCC and the five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Petronas is also the main financier of the Putrajaya project, he said.

Nasarudin was commenting on Lim's suggestion that Petronas should fund the construction of RM2 billion Penang Second Bridge project.