GEORGE TOWN: The state Barisan Nasional has accused the Pakatan Rakyat state government of "progressively" selling off land owned by the state and the Penang Island Municipal Council to the private sector.
Its Batu Lanchang coordinator, Lee Boon Ten, said prime land such as Bayan Mutiara and Taman Manggis were sold to private hands when they should have been retained for building affordable housing.
"Losing precious land will complicate future housing plans. On its part, previous BN administrations built 35,700 low- and low-medium cost homes from 1990 to 2008.
"Should BN come to power, it will build 20,000 low-cost flats and launch another rent-and-buy scheme in five years at a cost of some RM1.5 billion to overcome housing woes," Lee said.
Now that freehold state land was being sold to commercial organisations, there would be consequences, Lee warned.
"If it is freehold, the state cannot take back the land unless it buys back the land. Another way to make up for the lack of land is through reclamation," he said at the state BN headquarters here yesterday.
Lee denied Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's accusations that BN did not build homes for the poor when it was in power.
He said 4,600 low-cost units under the rent-and-buy scheme, for example, could be seen at Rifle Range, Gat Lebuh Macallum, Jalan Kedah, Jalan Sungai and other places in Penang.
From 2004 to 2008 (the year Pakatan took power), BN approved more than 33,500 low- and low-medium cost homes to be built, he added.
"But on Pakatan's part, it had failed to introduce any low-cost scheme over the last four years, despite receiving more than 152,000 applications for low-cost housing from the people. It even chose to sell the Taman Manggis land that was meant for a 16-storey people's housing project."
Lee said Penang BN had quizzed the state government many times about the land sale but Lim continued to hold back information.
"Is the state protecting some individual? Is it because the details would be detrimental to the state?
State BN publicity chief Tan Cheng Liang said Lim had assigned several exco members and his political secretary Ng Wei Aik to attack BN over the Taman Manggis issue instead of answering questions.
Sungai Puyu BN coordinator Sum Yoo Keong also questioned claims by the state government that it had built 11,596 low- and medium-cost units since 2008 through investment arm Penang Development Corporation (PDC) when the Auditor-General's 2010 report stated that the state did not build any.
Meanwhile, Bayan Baru BN coordinator Por Joo Tee asked the state whether low-cost housing projects by PDC that began before 2008 but completed after the change of government were also considered contributions of Pakatan.
He also said the state was a "DOG" (dogmatically-operated government) as it failed to come clean.