Penang will not convert reclaimed land to freehold

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng does not want to follow the previous state government’s policy of circumventing the National Land Code (NLC) 1965 by converting reclaimed land to freehold status.

He said Section 76 of the NLC prohibited the state authority from converting reclaimed land to freehold, or for any period exceeding 99 years in order to protect and reserve coastal areas.

“I have been advised that after a piece of land has been reclaimed, it ceases to be seabed and foreshore factually, physically and legally; leaving it within the state’s right to convert its status to freehold.

“But this state government will not choose to exercise its powers to make such conversions,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

Lim was commenting on the land conversion of the 28ha Queensbay development project in Bayan Lepas in 2006 that sparked controversy recently when it was reported to be against the NLC.

He said that while he disagreed with the previous state government’s policy of converting reclaimed land to freehold, he was advised by state legal advisers and consultants that it was done legally.

“The state government also has to comply with the Penang High Court’s consent order given to the scheme arrangement to rescue the original Bayan Bay project,” he said.

The Light Waterfront reclaimed landHowever, he stressed this was not something the Pakatan-led state government endorsed or concurred with.

Lim also advised former Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to cooperate with the present state administration to expose more land scams and clarify one-sided agreements detrimental to the state.

“It is regrettable that despite the new government’s repeated calls to promote Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT), those from the previous state government still refuse to come clean on the land scams which have caused losses totalling hundreds of millions of ringgit,” he said.

by The Star

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