GEORGETOWN • Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's purchase of a RM2.8 million (S$938,000) two- storey bungalow last year has become controversial following allegations by an Umno MP that it was linked to the sale of state government land.
Mr Lim yesterday denied these accusations and called on Datuk Shabudin Yahaya, who made the allegations, to show him proof of the claims that were made in Malaysia's national Parliament on Thursday.
"I hope that he can show evidence of his allegations made in Parliament," Mr Lim told a news conference at his office yesterday. "Let us talk about facts and figures. I have nothing to hide."
Mr Lim is secretary-general of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), the lead party in the state government that won Penang in 2008.
The claims are sensational because MP Shabudin claimed he had documentary proof of what he was saying. The allegations hinted at corruption at the highest level of the DAP, which is popular due to its strong anti-corruption stance.
Mr Shabudin, who represents the Penang constituency of Tasek Gelugor, had said on Thursday that Mr Lim's house in Jalan Pinhorn was bought for RM2.8 million, and alleged that its actual value was RM6 million.
I hope that he can show evidence of his allegations made in Parliament. Let us talk about facts and figures. I have nothing to hide.
PENANG CHIEF MINISTER LIM GUAN ENG, challenging Umno MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya to prove he behaved corruptly
The Umno MP further alleged that the owner of the house was linked to a shareholder of Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre (KLIDC). The company, he said bought a 0.45ha piece of Penang government land for RM11 million in 2012, though the land was meant for low-cost housing.
KLIDC has proposed to build a specialist clinic centre and hotel on the land in Taman Manggis on Penang island, whereas Mr Shabudin claimed that it was allocated for a 270-unit affordable-home project, with each unit to be rented out to the poor at RM100 a month.
On the claimed kickback, Mr Lim said: "The private developer won the bid by open competitive tender because it gave the best and highest price. The seller of my house was not involved in the company that won the bid."
Mr Lim said he bought the house after serving seven years as chief minister and as MP in the national Parliament. "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.
Mr Lim said the state government has no knowledge that the Taman Manggis land was earmarked for low-cost housing.
While the thrust and parry are part of the political game, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) indicated yesterday that it would be opening investigative papers on the issue, Bernama news agency reported yesterday.
"We received a number of reports on the issue today (Friday) and we are waiting to see whether there are more to come," an MACC source was quoted as saying.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK