IPOH, May 27 — Perak state lawmaker Chong Zhemin today panned Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad as irresponsible for saying the state government was unable to keep a piece of land from a private company that was initially planned for an international airport in Seri Iskandar.
The Keranji assemblyman pointed out that the state Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had yet to call a meeting on the issue.
He also claimed the land sale to the private company had yet to be investigated.
'There are claims and allegations by former board members that the sale of land was not discussed in the Perak State Development Corporation’s board meetings.
'There has no investigation on this matter and the Perak PAC chairman Datuk Mohd Tarmizi Idris yet to call a meeting on this matter,' Chong, a member of the state PAC told a press conference at state Opposition Leader Abdul Aziz Bari’s home in Pengkalan Tiara here.
Chong said Saarani cannot simply wash his hands of the issue.
'If there is proof that the sale of land is not legal, then the state government has the power to cancel the purchase.
'Furthermore, the land title is yet to be changed its ownership. The state government only collected the deposit payment from the private company. So we can actually cancel the sales agreement and return their deposit,' he said.
The DAP man said he and another PAC member Tan Kar Hing had requested the Perak PAC chairman convene a meeting in a letter one month ago and hope a date would be set soon.
'I hope the chairman will call a meeting soon so that we can clear the air on this airport issue and know what really transpired in the sale of the airport land.'
Aziz Bari said the state government holds the advantage on issues involving state land.
'Yes there are implications of laws and I don’t deny it. But that does mean the state government can’t take any action after selling the land, the constitutional law expert said.
Saarani said on May 25 that the Perak government was unable to retain the Seri Iskandar land for the proposed airport because it had been sold to a private company.
He added that the sales and purchase agreement had already been signed.
Saarani said the state government was unable to do anything about the land as the sale was made legally by the landowner, PKNP to the private company.
'As I’ve said before, we had planned to use the land to build the airport. However, there is no plan now as the sale has gone through. So, leave it to the private company to develop the area for whatever,” he was quoted saying by national agency Bernama.
*A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.