GEORGETOWN • Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday brought about 30 newsmen to visit his upper-middle class bungalow in Pinhorn Road amid a continuing controversy over the purchase of his RM2.8 million (S$940,000) two-storey home.
Mr Lim, who is also the Secretary-General of the Democratic Action Party, insists there is no impropriety in the purchase of the property, denying vehemently allegations that he bought it at below market price last year.
"The landowners had offered the land in early 2012," Mr Lim told the newsmen gathered at his home.
"There was this understanding with my wife that they would sell at 2.8 million (ringgit) at that time and they agreed to hold on at that price because at that time, I was not very sure whether I'll be re-elected. Because we need to have the funds to get the loan and to make the monthly bank instalments.
"And of course, we need sufficient funds to pay for the balance of the purchase price. Only when I was re-elected, we decided we got enough funds to purchase in July last year."
When asked whether he knew the house was purchased below the market price, Mr Lim said he was not a property agent. "I would not know the price. There was a verbal understanding," he said.
The chief minister, who was re-elected in 2013, disclosed last Thursday that his house was more than 30 years old and that he had taken a RM2.1 million bank loan, with the balance of RM700,000 paid in cash.
The saga surrounding the two-storey home was far from over yesterday after Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya from the Barisan Nasional (BN) snubbed Mr Lim's challenge for a one-on-one meeting at the chief minister's office.
Mr Shabudin held a news conference in Kepala Batas yesterday where he advised the chief minister to "act wisely and let the issue be investigated by the authorities and to explain himself".
The MP from the ruling coalition also said he was ready to forward relevant documents to the authorities in relation to the claims that he had made in Parliament last Thursday.
The market value of the property was between RM6 million and RM6.5 million, according to Mr Shabudin, who also alleged that Mr Lim's purchase was linked to the sale of state government land.
Mr Lim denounced the allegations as " false and baseless", saying that the 2012 sale of government land was conducted by open competitive tender.
"Implying corruption without any basis, truth or facts is character assassination to destroy me politically by trying to equate me with BN," said Mr Lim.
He has urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to expedite investigations into the matter.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK