Lim Guan Eng should not fear any investigation of his controversial bungalow purchase if he has nothing to hide, Barisan Nasional spokesman Abdul Rahman Dahlan said today.
He said even the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was open to investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission into a controversial deposit of RM2.6 billion into his personal bank accounts in 2013.
Abdul Rahman said Lim should have welcomed investigations by the MACC and the police with open arms instead of challenging Tasek Gelugor MP Shahbudin Yahaya to meet him in a face-off about the bungalow fiasco.
“When even the Prime Minister welcomed investigations on him, so should Lim if he has nothing to hide,” said Rahman after officiating a Tanjung Umno event in George Town today.
The bungalow purchase was the subject of a parliamentary question this week. Tasek Gelugor MP Shahbudin Yahaya linked it to the state government’s sale of land at Taman Manggis, George Town, which had been earmarked for affordable housing. The land was sold to a Kuala Lumpur company which intends to build a hospital and hotel. He has said the landlord and a director of the company were business partners.
Lim’s double-story bungalow sits on a 10,000 sq ft plot at No 25 Jalan Pinhorn, off Green Lane, in George Town. He had rented the house at RM5,000 a month but bought it from the landlord for RM2.8 million in what he called a “willing buyer willing seller” transaction signed in August last year.
Land records show that the house was purchased by Phang Li Koon in October 2008 for RM2.5 million or RM275 per sq ft. It was renovated and refurbished before Lim moved into the house in July 2009.
According to information released by the Valuation and Property Services Department in 2014, land in Jalan Pinhorn has a value of RM722 per sq ft, a difference of RM447 per sq ft from the price Lim paid for the house.
Some property agents said that, based on the department valuation, Lim’s bungalow should have cost RM6.5 million based on the value of the land and the cost of renovation works done.
That estimate would mean that the Penang Chief Minister bought it cheap at a whopping RM3.7 million discount.
Shahbudin called on the MACC to investigate Lim’s bungalow purchase to which Lim chose to challenge Shahbudin to face him at the Chief Minister’s Office in Komtar tomorrow.
“Instead of challenging Shahbudin, Lim should invite MACC to conduct an investigation on him,” said Rahman, who is Barisan Nasional strategic communications director.
He urged MACC to conduct a thorough investigation leaving no stone unturned, the same way the Najib investigation was conducted.
Critics of the Lim deal have pointed out the similarity to the purchase of a bungalow in Shah Alam by Mohd Khir Toyo, then Selangor menteri besar. He was convicted of corruption and sentenced to jail in September last year for the deal in which he paid RM3.5 million for the house, in contrast to its previous purchase price of RM6.5 million.