PRESS STATEMENT First, I regret that some sections of the press are making up inaccurate stories published today when I had not spoken to them. For this reason, I am coming out with a written press statement to avoid any misinterpretation or wilful misrepresentation.
I read in the Malaysiakini yesterday that allegations of corruption were made against me in the Dewan Rakyat by Perda chair and Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya, where he linked the purchase of my house to the 2012 sale of government land in Taman Manggis to private developers building a private hospital and hotel. These allegations are false and baseless.
I want to see what facts Shabudin possesses to make such allegations. I have nothing to hide. I wish to invite Shabudin to a one-on-one “seek truth from facts” meeting with me alone in my Komtar office at 11am, Sunday, March 20 in front of the mass media.
After 7 years as Penang Chief Minister, I have finally bought a house in Penang. My house, a double-storey bungalow in Pinhorn Road, is more than 30 years old.
I bought my house for RM2.8 million on July 28, 2015, not from a private developer but from a private individual. I paid for the purchase by taking a RM2.1 million bank loan, with the balance of RM700,000 paid in cash, based on what I received as Chief Minister and elected representative.
Shabudin made claims that the value of my house is higher. However, this is an arms-length transaction between me and the seller on a willing buyer and willing seller basis. The seller is a private individual through sub-sale, and not a housing developer.
As long as there is no coercion or undue influence, this contract for sale of the house is just like a marriage – it is up to both sides to decide what is the right price or who is the right partner.
Malaysiakini reported that Shabudin linked the house purchase to the 2012 sale of state government land in Taman Manggis to private developers who want to build a private hospital. He further claimed that the Taman Manggis land was meant for low-cost housing, implying that the low price of my house, was part of a kickback.
This is not the first time that such a false allegation of corruption relating to the Taman Manggis land has been made.
Former Penang Umno Youth Chief and Bagan Umno Chief Shaik Hussein Mydin on Aug 19, 2015 had to withdraw his offending statements and verbally apologise to me twice in the Penang High Court Judge’s chambers after I sued him for defamation.
It is untrue to link my house purchase in 2015 to the 2012 sale of government land in Taman Manggis, when the sale of government land was conducted by open competitive tender. Is there anything wrong in selling the land to the highest bidder?
The private developer who won the bid by open competitive tender, won because it gave the best and highest price.
The seller of my house was not involved in the company that won the bid for the land and is not a director or shareholder of the company.
Furthermore, the Penang state tender committee is not chaired by me but chaired by the Penang State Secretary.
The state government has no knowledge that the Taman Manggis land was earmarked for low-cost housing.
To encourage medical tourism, the state government decided to offer the land for a specialist hospital.
The allegations by BN of the Taman Manggis land issue is an old lie played up by BN before the 2013 General Election.
Implying corruption without any basis, truth or facts is character assassination to destroy me politically by trying to equate me with BN.
As long as Shabudin restricts his comments to within the walls of Parliament, he enjoys parliamentary immunity from legal defamation. As a Perda chairman, he should seek truth from facts to show proof that I am corrupt.
For this reason, I invite him to have a one-to-one meeting at 11am, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in front of the media, to counter each other with facts and figures.
From this one-to-one meeting, Malaysians can then judge for themselves who is telling the truth, who is clean and who is making a wild, irresponsible and baseless personal attacks.
Lim Guan Eng
Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary General