Sunday, December 21, 2008

Penang waives premium for leasehold title change - Star

GEORGE TOWN: Dec 21, 2008

Some 20,000 owners of low and medium-cost flats developed on state land need not pay a premium to convert their leasehold titles to freehold status.

The exemption was made ''to give hope'' to low-income homeowners for the coming new year, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said after presenting aid to the underprivileged in Komtar.

''The decision was made at the state executive council meeting yesterday.

''These flat owners will only have to pay the processing fees for the applications.

''The majority of those who will benefit are those who own flats under the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and PDC Properties housing schemes,'' he said.

In June, Lim announced that residential leasehold landowners in Penang could apply for their property to be converted to freehold status upon paying a land premium and processing fee.

Lim said the state might consider giving those who had landed leasehold property on state land a discount on the premium price.

On another matter, Lim said Penang would boycott Arianna Events Management " the organiser of the aborted Kings of Tennis event.

''We supported the event because we took into account the views of people like Penang Heritage Trust president Dr Choong Sim Poey and Penang Tourism Action Council (PTAC) chairman Datuk Kee Phaik Cheen, who both supported the project.

''Now, the organiser has failed to deliver.''

Lim said the government would not make the same mistake again. ''Once bitten, forever shy,'' he said.

On Saturday, the company's director Arianna Teoh agreed to restore the damaged Esplanade field to its original state, five weeks after the event was cancelled.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Guan Eng warns Gamuda about making allegations - Sun

Dec 18, 2008 By Opalyn Mok


Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has warned Gamuda Bhd to think carefully before making allegations against the state government.

"Don't play the fool with the Penang state government," he said in response to Gamuda's statement today that its RM12.5bil double-tracking project linking Ipoh to Padang Besar was delayed due to land acquisition problems in Penang.

"My advice to Gamuda is to think carefully before they bring up allegations that we caused the delay," said Lim.

He said MMC-Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Gamuda and MMC Corp Bhd, was issued a stop work order back in October because they had damaged the river bund and caused floods in several areas on the mainland.

"The company had admitted causing the problem and even paid compensation to a farmer for losses he suffered due to the floods, and then they went and told the Transport Ministry that they did not cause the floods," he said.

Lim said he will prepare a full reply to Gamuda's statement tomorrow but repeated his warning to the company to not play around with the Penang state government'.

It was reported on Wednesday that Gamuda group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling said the double tracking project will be delayed by at least a year due to the delay in acquiring land in Penang.

He reportedly said there are substantial delays in Penang due to the huge number of squatters between the railway and the rights of reserve.

Lin said the government should have handed the land over within nine months of the start of the contract but that it will take at least another year for the land to be handed over.

The project, which commenced in January, is expected to be completed in early 2013.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Penang mulls developer fund to fix hillslope projects - Star

Dec 17, 2008 By K. KASTURI DEWI

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will consider asking developers of hillslope projects to set up a fund to tackle remedial works which arise after their projects are completed.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state will hold discussions with developers to come out with a formula on the setting up of such a fund.

“This fund will be specially set up for the treatment and remedial works of hillslope projects.

“Such a fund is necessary because of cases where a problem arises after a project is completed and OC (Occupation Certificate) is obtained but the developer cannot be traced to do the remedial works,” he told reporters at a press conference after the opening of the Pacific Komtar Departmental Store in Komtar Wednesday.

He said this when asked to comment on the Selangor government’s proposal to impose higher assessment rates or a levy on hillside property.

It was reported that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the assessment collected would be used to monitor and maintain sensitive areas and also as a relief effort for those living in low-lying areas who are affected by hillslope development.

Lim indicated that he wanted the fund to be of substantial amount to tackle any problems that arose and also to drive home a message to developers that the state was serious in ensuring that any future hillslope projects were “really safe.”

Earlier in his speech, Lim said Penang expected 3.5 million tourist arrivals next year with anticipated earnings of RM1.4bil.