(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Perak State UMNO Liaison Committee yesterday hit out at the DAP for making an issue out of the purported construction of a new residence for the Mentri Besar.
Perak UMNO Information Chief Ramly Zahari said the DAP was unprofessional for making such wild and baseless accusations.
Since Perak UMNO wants to re-open the issue, I call on the Perak Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib to make public the plan for the subdivision of 26 acres of prime land in Ipoh at Jalan Tun Dr. Ismail/Jalan Golf into 50 lots, including one seven-acre lot reserved for the new Mentri Besarís residence.
When Perak DAP leaders and I met the Mentri Besar last Saturday, Ramli admitted that there is such a plan, remarking that the DAP state secretary and MP for Teluk Intan, M. Kulasegaran, might have seen it but he had not seen it himself. Ramli even said he did not know the exact location of the site.
Although Ramli denied that the State Government had taken a decision to build a new residence for the Mentri Besar, it is clear from his explanation on the issue both in his meeting with DAP leaders as well as in his earlier press conference on the matter on the same day, as well as from the statements by Perak UMNO leaders, the issue of a new residence for the Mentri Besar in Perak is not an academic one at all.
This is amply borne by the fact that a plan had been prepared by the State Government on the subdivision of 26-acre prime land in Ipoh at Jalan Tun Dr. Ismail/Jalan Golf into 50 lots, with a seven-acre lot reserved for the new residence of the Mentri Besar.
With the economic crisis, which will get worse before it could get better, the Perak State Government should secure the full confidence and co-operation of the people by being open, accountable and transparent in its policies, decisions, deliberations and actions.
The 26-acre concerned are prime land and worth about RM70 to RM80 per sq ft., or the whole area is worth RM80 - RM92 million if it is offered for sale to the public by the highest bidder.
At a time of deepening economic and financial crisis, RM80-RM92 million is not a trifle sum and the government has a responsibility not only to ensure that every ringgit of public money is well spent by cutting down on all forms of waste, it must ensure that every ringgit which could be collected by the public treasury should be harnessed for the public good!
Let the Perak State Government announce the latest position with regard to the 26-acres of prime state land in Ipoh, whether a decision had been taken by the Perak State Exco to alienate them, and if so, when, to whom, why, and on what terms.
Furthermore, who prepared the plan Ramli referred to which subdivided the plot into 50 lots, with a seven-acre lot reserved for the new Mentri Besarís residence, and the status and position of this plan at present.
Instead of criticising Kulasegaram for bringing the issue of the new residence of the Perak Mentri Besar to public light, the UMNO leaders should thank the PeraK DAP state leader for performing a public service in the matter, as this is the era of openness, accountability and transparency where secret decisions behind closed doors or secret deals could only undermine public confidence in the government.