A piece of land was leased to a quarry operator by the state government in 2001 and it was later found out that it was a private land.
Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy disclosed a letter dated July 1, 2004 from applicant Tang Hak Ju to the previous state government in which he was seeking a settlement over the land issue. The letter was received and stamped by former state Local Government Committee chairman Dr Teng Hock Nan.
“It contained an offer to settle the issue amicably with a compensation fee of RM1.85mil along with a replacement site in Juru. However, the state decided not to take up the deal and instead went court over the matter," said Ramasamy.
The Penang Government has sent letters to former Chief Minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon and former state Local Government Committee chairman Dr Teng Hock Nan to seek their assistance in probes into alleged land scams.
Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy said a letter was also sent to former Deputy Chief Minister Abdul Rashid Abdullah as the alleged scams occurred during Barisan Nasional’s tenure.
So far, the BN leaders have refused to assist the state government or to accept responsibility for the case. In the state assembly, Dr Hilmi Yahaya (BN – Teluk Bahang), who was state Land Committee chairman at that time, said there was no necessity for him to issue an apology.
“What I had merely said before is that it happened during my tenure as state Land Committee chairman. The mistake was committed by an officer, not me.”
Yes, blame the officer. Heck, what is the meaning of holding a leadership position if it does not come with taking responsibility when something goes wrong?
This is a unique Malaysian management culture. When something goes wrong, blame it on the officers or managers. Can we expect Dr Hilmi to put a stamp on every application for a land lease himself?
But who authorized it? Can an officer authorize the lease without the final approval of his boss?
Both Dr Koh and Dr Teng have refused to extend an assistance to the state government too, claiming that the issue has been politicized. Funny, who are these people if not politicians?
Shouting "politicking" may be the best way for both Koh and Teng to avoid being held accountable but this does not work for common Penangites like myself.
It is an irony that Koh is now talking accountability and performance since embracing KPIs as his new religion. However, he should not merely focus on the ritual part of it and does not fully appreciate the real virtue of being accountable and professional.
Koh and Teng must remember that it is not Lim Guan Eng they are being held accountable to but the people of Penang whom they had once served and Gerakan is still hoping to win back their support to govern the state.
How can we, the voters, trust a bunch of politicians who are not willing to be accountable for their mistake.
It is unfortunate that Gerakan has missed the opportunity to redeem itself in Penang. This episode has shown that its leaders are not the kind of people we can trust to lead us.
The Penang Government will deposit RM14.7mil with the High Court in relation to legal proceedings over a 2001 alleged land scam to avoid contempt of court. The full legal cost may well be over RM40 million. Who is paying for this mistake? Not Hilmi, not Koh or Teng but the people of Penang.
Penang needs the money badly to promote its tourism sector. I must admit that I am less than impressed with what has (not) been done right now but the RM40 million would have come in handy for the state to improve basic amenities and cleanliness in the state.
So, please stop the bullshit about performance measurement, KPIs, 1Malaysia. It is time for all politicians to be accountable for their actions.