Taman Manggis: Intention to sell does not mean it has been sold

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Photograph: pocketnews.com.my

Truth and facts are important criteria when one takes a public stand. The aim should be to inform the public as truthfully as possible. Half truths and unsubstantiated facts amount to nothing.

It is a fact that there was an intention to sell the Taman Manggis land but it is not the absolute truth.

The Taman Manggis land was never sold. That is the undeniable truth.

Producing two documents at a press conference, Barisan Nasional strategic communications director and Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahalan declared that the Taman Manggis land had been sold.

The two documents, the sale and purchase agreements, were signed and stamped and dated 11 November 2015. Strangely, he only gave out four out of the 16 pages in his possession. Why the entire documents were not made available is not known. Why were the rest of the 12 pages not released? Do they contain more revelations to be made public later on? For the moment we are not privy to the contents in those pages.

Based on these documents, Abdul Rahman contended that this land was sold to a third party for a hefty profit of RM59m. His strident position was that the sale of the land was a done deal.

The state government was caught unawares and pleaded ignorance of this sale. They did not know the identity of the buyer, and they had not been informed by the owner, the Kuala Lumpur International Centre Sdn Bhd, as was required. In short, they were totally in the dark.

However, the Companies Commission of Malaysia’s record of the company profile dated 27 August 2015, which was produced by the state government to counter Abdul Rahman’s insistence that the land had already been sold, showed there was no change in the ownership. But this document did not confirm what was stated in the sale and purchase agreements dated 11 November 2015, which was inked nearly two and a half months later.

There were no other official supporting documents to establish the claim that the land had been sold.

Evidence from the land office produced by the state government did not confirm Abdul Rahman’s contention. According to the records, the Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre was still the owner of this controversial land and debunked Abdul Rahman’s story. But this did not mollify Abdul Rahman.

He was rash and in a rush to score a political point that he failed to do a simple thing – to check with the North East District Land Office. Since the land was sold six months ago, on 11 November 2015, as claimed by Abdul Rahman in April 2016, the title deed of this land should show the change of the ownership. But it did not.

If he had found out from the land office that no new owners had been registered in the land grant, the next sensible thing to do was to check with KLIDC to ascertain the status of the land and the verification of the sale. But he did not – he failed to do this simple check.

This notwithstanding, Abdul Rahman would not let this issue rest. Still persisting on this issue, he challenged the chief minister of Penang to a debate.

Of course, the chief minister readily accepted this challenge and hoped that this would be televised live. As if responding to this hope, RTM has agreed to do this. The date and time are subject to the convenience of both parties. Malaysians look forward to this much anticipated event so that the truth will be known.

It can be argued, in a way, that the BN is responsible for creating the present controversy.

All this controversy and acrimony would have been unnecessary had the BN bought the land as it had declared it would in 2012. If only they had done so, they would have now certainly reaped the profit of the appreciated land value that they are clamouring about. But they missed the boat through their own fault.

They must be held responsible for failing to buy the land after having stated that they had collected the money from their members to purchase it. Why they had aborted the purchase of this land at the last moment remains a mystery. It has not been explained.

If only they had banked in the money for the land, the state government would have no choice but to sell it to them, no matter whatever the excuse. If the state government had refused to sell the land at that point, it could be sued and forced to complete the sale and pay compensation as well.

Now, we wonder what happened to all the money that had been collected from their members – RM22.4m.

P Ramakrishnan
Aliran excutive committee member
12 April 2016

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