Penang acting state Gerakan Youth chief Jason Loo (centre) at a press conference held at the party’s office at Jalan Macalister, George Town today. Pix by Mikail Ong

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan Youth have accused the state government of failing to be transparent over the controversial Lebuhraya Peel land and development project.

Acting state Gerakan Youth chief Jason Loo said the public had many questions about the hospital expansion and hotel project on the 2.59ha piece of land, but the state government had failed to answer any of the questions.

“This is a critical issue concerning the public interest of Penangites. We have been waiting for updates from Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng but to no avail.

“Chief minister, do not hide... be bold and sincere in answering the people,” he said in a press conference here today.

Loo said there were “too many unanswered questions”, such as why there was an alleged rush to approve the conversion to the land status to commercial use as well as whether the four heritage buildings on the land would be demolished.

“(Also, the question of) whether it is true or not that the hotel component would be sold to a third party outsider in Singapore? Why were such extraordinary privileges given to the third party outsider for the hotel component?”

Loo said even the sale and purchase agreement of the land and the minutes of the meeting approving the sale have yet to be declassified by the state government.

“You (Lim) may not want to answer questions from the opposition (BN). You may not want to answer the questions from non-governmental organisations. But, please respond to the residents,” he added.

It was reported that the state government had sold the land at Lebuhraya Peel to Island Hospital Sdn Bhd for RM156 million.

A proposed RM2 billion Island “medical city”, which will include an initial 600-bed hospital, to be eventually increased to 1,000 beds, would be built on the land over a five-year span and will .

It was also reported that Loo had alleged that he came across a sales brochure by Island Hospital recently which invited investors to purchase shares of the hotel, to be built on the land at Lebuhraya Peel.

He had also claimed that Island Hospital would only hold five per cent of the hotel’s shares, while the remaining 95 per cent would be owned by an investor once the deal was completed.

However, Island Hospital has since refuted claims that it released a sales brochure on the divestment of interest in the hotel.