Does Adenan has the political will to put a stop on dubious land deals for Barisan Nasional crony? Or is Adenan only paying Lip Service to Clean Governance?


In the November, 2014 Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak sitting, I have submitted a question as follow:
“  6.    To ask the Chief Minister and Minister for Resource Planning and Environment:  To state the rationale for the sale of State land Lots 128, 5489, 5490, 5491, 2301, 2304 and 5279 all of Block 225 Kuching North Land District (a total of 267.15 acres) to Standard Parade Development Sdn Bhd at a mere RM115 million.”

Those parcels of land are situated opposite Batu Kawah MJC Commercial Centre.  Anyone in the know about property market in Kuching will know that the market price for land in that area is in the region of RM2 million per acre.  For such large parcel of land with a total area of 267.15 acres in that area, the market price is easily RM500 million.

To my said question, I have received an answer from the Chief Minister which provides, inter alia:

“    Lot 128, 5489, 5490, 5491, 2301, 2304 and 5279 all of Block 225 Kuching North Land District telah dilulus untuk diberimilik bagi pembangunan bercampur seperti rumah kedai, showroom dan lock-up shop, bangunan industry, institusi pendidikan, bangunan pejabat dan pelbagai jenis rumah kediaman.  Selain daripada itu, tanah yang diguna dan telah dibangunkan untuk kawasan lapang, jalan raya, perparitan, tempat letak kereta, substesen elektrik dan bangunan awam akan diserahbalik kepada Kerajaan secara percuma.  Oleh yang demikian, setelah mengambilkira factor-faktor yang disebut di atas, premium sejumlah RM115 juta yang dikenakan bagi pemberimilikan tanah tersebut adalah berpatutan dan munasabah.”
(    Lot 128, 5489, 5490, 5491, 2301, 2304 and 5279 all of Block 225 Kuching North Land District have been approved for alienation for mixed development, eg. shophouses, showroom and lock-up shop, industrial building, institution of education, office building and various types of residential house.  Besides, land which will be used for and developed into open area, roads, drains, parking space, electricity substation and public building will be surrendered back to the Government for free.  As such, after taking into consideration of the above factors, the RM115 premium charged for the alienation of the above land is fair and reasonable.)

This is similar answer given by the State Government under the previous Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud, when he answered questions on State land being alienated to BN crony companies at only a small fraction of the prevailing market price.

The ultimate question now for Adenan is: Is Adenan continuing with the previous State Government policy in alienating State Land to BN cronies at only a small fraction of the prevailing market price? 

All developers, when they develop land into commercial buildings or residential houses, will have to surrender the open area, roads, drains, parking space, electricity substation and/or public building or structures to the government for free.  However, they are still required to purchase land at the prevailing market prices, NOT a fraction of the market price. 

Any developer wishing to buy land in that area will have to buy land at the prevailing market price of approximately RM2 million per acre and when it develops the land, the open area, roads, drains, parking space, electricity substation will still have to be surrendered to the government for free. 

Therefore, the answer given by the Chief Minister does not provide a justification for the sale of State land to Standard Parade Development Sdn Bhd (SPD) at only 20% of the prevailing market price of the land.

My question to Adenan Satem is:  What is so special about SPD that it can get land from the Government at only an average of RM430,000 per acre when the market price is RM2 million per acre?  For land of the size of 267 acres, the Government is foregoing RM400 million for the sole benefit of this SPD company.

The undisputed facts about this alienation exercise are as follows:

1.       The Agreement between the Government of Sarawak and SPD was signed on 8-3-2014, which was after Adenan Satem became the Chief Minister of Sarawak.  Therefore, Adenan can’t wash his hands clean on this deal by attributing it to the decision of the previous Chief Minister.

2.       The consideration price of RM115 million under the said Agreement was to be paid in kind by SPD building one SABATI (Association of Wives of Ministers and Assistant Ministers of Sarawak) building at Jalan Bako, 1 orphanage building at Mukah and 1 orphanage building at Lawas, to be valued by JKR at approximately RM115 million.

3.       The land will be alienated to SPD even before the SPD completes the construction of the 3 buildings. 
Under the Agreement, so long as SPD commences construction of the SABATI building and signs the building agreements for the 2 orphanage buildings, documents of title to the 267 acre of land will be issued to SPD within 21 days. 
In other words, SPD only need to incur few hundred thousand Ringgit to commence construction and the State land worth RM500 million market value will be alienated to it.

In previous dubious land deals, at least the recipients of the land would have completed the projects before they received the State land as payment in kind.  In this case, SPD will receive the land even before it completes or incur substantial cost in constructing the projects. 

Such arrangement is a double rip-off on the State Government and the people of Sarawak, ie. State land is alienated to SPD at 20% of market value (the State losing RM400 million potential revenue) and even that meagre 20% is not paid before the land were alienated to SPD.

By the looks of it, it seems that the land-grabbing is worse under Adenan’s administration.  Though Adenan has previously forbidden his direct family members from applying for State land, but it would be the same if he continues to allow BN cronies to get State land at only fractions of the market price.

This dubious land deal has thrown doubts onto Adenan’s statements about clean and good governance and the integrity of his whole Administration. 

How can a Chief Minister who advocates for clean and good governance allow such double rip-off to happen right under his nose?  If Adenan Satem does not stop this land deal, all his talks about clean and good governance will become hot air and mere window-dressing.

Therefore, I urge Adenan Satem to walk the talk and act immediately on this dubious land deal.  Otherwise, he will disappoint all those who harbour hopes of reforms and change in the State Government under his leadership.

I also urge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to carry out investigation on the matter.  If MACC wishes to have any document on the land deal, I am prepared to furnish the MACC with all the document in my possession provided that it must act on it and not pay lip service only, giving in to the power that be.

Chong Chieng Jen
Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching
ADUN for Kota Sentosa