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Guan Eng: Claims I don't know the value of my bungalow is a BN lie

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Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said accusations that he did not know the value of the bungalow he purchased on Jalan Pinhorn was a "BN lie".

Lim explained that when he said he did not know, he was specifically responding to a question by Umno on whether the property was valued at RM6.5 million.

"Another BN lie is my statement that I did not know the value of my house even though I signed the Sales and Purchase Agreement and paid stamp duty.

"I had replied to a question on whether the value of my house was RM6.5 million, as alleged by Umno.

"I replied honestly - I did not know if my house was valued at RM6.5 million - as I am a chief minister and not a property agent," he said in a statement today.

However, Lim said his explanation had been "twisted and distorted".

According to property transaction rules, a buyer is required to pay stamp duty for the memorandum of transfer and this is calculated based on the purchase price or market value of the property, whichever is higher.

As such, Lim's critics said the chief minister would likely have to pay stamp duty based on the value of the property which is higher than his RM2.8 million purchase price, and would therefore know its exact worth.

Penang Umno Youth chief Rafizal Abd Rahim claimed Lim had declared to the Inland Revenue Board that the property was worth RM4.27 million based on a copy of the property transfer assessment declaration he obtained.

'Distraction from real BN scandals'

Lim said the accusation that he had bought his bungalow at below market price was part of a character assassination conspiracy against him.

"BN’s national conspiracy to character assassinate me over the purchase of my house through lies and half-truths, double standards and even abuse of power, is a blatant attempt to justify, blot out or distract attention from the real financial scandals of BN, such as the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, the RM2.6 billion donation scandal, and the latest RM100 million corruption scam in the Youth and Sports Ministry.

"The BN scandals have caused losses of public funds and hurt the nation’s economy with the depreciation of the ringgit, whilst the purchase of my house has shown the highest levels of transparency and accountability, with the practice of open tenders and even opening up my house for inspection by the media.

"And yet the BN’s print and broadcasting media continues its blanket coverage of my house, as if there are no other news or issues in the world," he said.

Lim also addressed allegation that his bungalow purchase was linked to the state's sale of land in Taman Manggis, stating that the bungalow seller had no direct link to the buyer of the land.

He added the sale of the Taman Manggis land to Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre Sdn Bhd was done through open tender and he was never part of the tender committee.

"For this reason, the state government and myself have nothing to hide and welcome a MACC investigation.

"We will give full co-operation to investigations conducted by the MACC, which visited my offices yesterday.

"Will the BN leaders do what I have done, which is to open my house up to the media, make public declaration of our personal assets, and identify who is the donor of the RM2.6 billion?" he said.

Lim also ticked off Gerakan for claiming that a July 2003 government memo showed the Taman Manggis land was slated for a People's Housing Project by the previous BN administration but was turned into something else when Pakatan Rakyat took over in 2008.

"If Gerakan claims that a 2003 state government memo had proposed such a public housing project, the most important question is this: Why was the public housing scheme not built by BN during the 5 years from 2003 until 2008, without a single unit being constructed?

"At the time we made a decision to sell the Taman Manggis land by open tender to promote medical tourism to build a hospital, there was no talk of doing public housing.

"This is confirmed by a 2001 layout plan submitted to Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang by the Jabatan Perumahan Negara (National Housing Department) under the federal government’s Housing Ministry, which clearly stated that the Taman Manggis land was for 'future' development, without any mention of public housing," he said.

Furthermore, Lim said the Taman Manggis land of one acre was too small for public housing and his government had therefore allocated a bigger site of 11 acres in neighbouring Jalan SP Chelliah for affordable and low medium-cost housing.

"An open tender of the project was conducted in 2013 and work on the 2,093 units has started with 20 percent completion.

"Is Gerakan now going to claim that BN had also planned to use Jalan SP Chelliah for public housing many years ago, but yet cannot answer why it is the Pakatan state government that acts to build whilst the BN state government does nothing?" he said.

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