GEORGE TOWN: Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) has warned Penangites against giving the DAP the mandate to rule Penang again based on a worrying data it found on leasehold lands and reclaimed lands that were converted to freehold status in Penang.
Penang BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow reasoned that converting land to freehold basis would only deny the future generations of land for development planning especially for the purpose of affordable housing.
“Land prices will surge to an unobtainable level by common Penangites and subsequently, house prices will also be impacted because of the conversion.
“This is already a real issue faced by Penang people who are unable to afford a house at a reasonable price,” he told a press conference here today.
He pointed out that the only way to stop such a trend was to deny the the DAP and Pakatan Harapan a strong mandate in Penang in the coming general election.
Teng explained that under the previous BN administration, leasehold land was granted between 30 and 60 years for industrial usage and 99 years for residential usage.
“Conversion of leasehold land to freehold status can only be granted for a very specific reason.
“Reclaimed land is granted on leasehold basis.
“Rarely, existing natural land was granted on freehold basis to developers except for infrastructure development on cross subsidized approach such as the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway where 50 acres of land was granted as freehold,” he added.
Teng also claimed that abandoned projects were also given approval for conversion in order to revive the projects and to relieve the burden of property buyers such as the Queensbay Mall project.
“Based on our research, only 50 acres of existing natural land and 103 acres of reclaimed land were approved from leasehold to freehold. In short, a total of 153 acres of land was converted to freehold in 40 years of BN administration,” he said.
According to Teng, the DAP Penang State Government had committed as well as had approved 1,426 acres of existing natural land and reclaimed land from leasehold to freehold status without valid reasons.
He also expressed shock at the STP2 reclamation project in Gurney Drive which he claimed had also been committed to be granted freehold status, making it 10 times more than the acreage approved by BN Administration.
“All these happened in only 10 years of DAP administering the Penang State Government.
“The People of Penang should also ask whether it was right to give commitment to convert land to freehold status when the land has yet to be reclaimed?” added Teng.
On another matter, Teng said Penang BN would custoise election manifestos for each area it would contest in the general election.
He said division heads and coordinators had been told to come up with specific pledges relevant to their respective constituencies since last year, adding that it would apply to all federal and state seats in Penang.
He explained that the candidates could use it for campaigning.
“These manifestos will also build on BN’s overall manifesto for the state and they will be introduced after nominations.
“If we manage to recapture Penang, every single manifesto will be delivered to Penangites,” said Teng, stressing that the manifesto would be people-centric.
Teng also revealed that he would contest a state seat but did not disclose the exact constituency he was expected to contest in. He is said to be eyeing either Batu Uban, Pantai Jerejak, Sungai Pinang or Tanjung Bungah.