Lands swapped for Penang tunnel project valued at RM80 million.
KUALA LUMPUR – May 27: The two plots of state land swapped to offset the cost of a feasibility study done for the Penang undersea tunnel project were valued at a total of RM80 million.
Witnesses testifying in former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng‘s corruption trial said Lot 702 and Lot 713 in Bandar Tanjung Pinang on the island were valued at RM50 million and RM30 million respectively.
Both lots were signed away by Lim to the developer of the tunnel project and later used for the City of Dreams project by the Ewein Zenith Group.
The first witness to be called today, valuation officer Zakariya Nayan, 55, said he was the one who did the valuation of Lot 702 and it was based on the market value of RM3,360 per square metre in December, 2014.
The second witness, Nurul Asshima Aminullah, 33, said she valued Lot 713 at RM30 million in 2016.
Meanwhile, when cross examined by Lim’s lawyer Haijan Omar, Zakariya agreed that the value of the land was far less than the cost of work done by the developer, which was estimated to be around RM138 million.
Nurul Asshima also agreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that the value of Lot 713 was less than the RM73 million spent by the developer on the project.
Both witnesses agreed that based on this, the state government did not suffer any losses by the land swap deal.
It was previously reported that the Ewein Zenith group, headed by the late Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng, had undertaken the billion ringgit City of Dreams project on the plots of reclaimed land.
Ewein Zenith is a joint venture vehicle between Ewein Land Sdn Bhd and CZBUCG Sdn Bhd. The freehold 1.49ha City of Dreams sits opposite the strategically located Gurney Drive.
The luxury seafront serviced apartment project comprises 572 units in 39-storey twin towers with prices of units ranging upwards of RM1,500 psf.
It was reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had previously detained top officials from the company as part of its probe into the tunnel project.
The MACC probe was focused on finding out why Lim’s administration had pre-sold state land rights worth RM3 billion despite a four-year delay in the construction of roads which were part of the tunnel project.
Lim, who is DAP chairman, is accused of soliciting a 10 per cent cut in profits from the tunnel project from Consortium Zenith Construction managing director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkefli.
He is also accused of seeking RM3.3 million in kickbacks to appoint zarul’s company to undertake the project.
He also faces two counts of dishonestly misappropriating RM208.7 million of state land to two companies.