Monday 22 Jul 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 9): Prof Dr P Ramasamy Palanisamy — former deputy chief minister of Penang II, and Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon — a director of Penang Development Corp (PDC) and Invest-In-Penang Bhd, claimed that there was no ‘due diligence’ meeting held to evaluate PDC’s land deal with Umech Construction Sdn Bhd.

In a joint statement on Monday, Ramasamy and Lee, in their personal capacities, said they found Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s remark last Tuesday (Oct 3) — about a “committee” being set up in November last year to examine Umech’s proposal to participate in an industrial park project at Byram, near Batu Kawan — as “misleading, unfair, and causes harm to our professional reputation”.

“The meeting on Nov 28, 2022 was NOT a ‘due diligence’ meeting to evaluate whether Umech Construction was suitable to be awarded the contract. Neither were there any terms of reference for the so-called ‘Jawatankuasa Kecil’ (committee).

“In fact, it was a meeting for Umech to provide further detail about their proposed development. The said meeting decided that Umech was to carry out a market survey to study the composition of land usage, [for] proof of Umech’s financial sustainability to be evaluated, and other related matters,” said Ramasamy and Lee.

Prof Dr P Ramasamy Palanisamy (Photo credit: proframasamy@facebook)

The duo further said that the meeting, which was chaired by Chow, also directed the PDC management to re-table to the PDC board for further deliberation after all the above information had been obtained.

To recap, Chow, who is also the PDC chairman, had in a statement dated Oct 3 said that a committee — led by then deputy chief minister of Penang I, then deputy chief minister of Penang II, Datuk Abdul Halim (as the responsible exco at the time), and Lee — held a discussion on Nov 28 last year to examine Umech’s proposal.

While they were not specifically named, it should be noted that in November last year, Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman was the deputy chief minister of Penang I, while Ramasamy was the deputy chief minister of Penang II.

Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon (Photo credit: investpenang.gov.my)

Chow further said that as a result of the committee’s findings, the proposal for collaboration with Umech was presented for approval at the PDC board meeting on Feb 9 this year.

It is worth noting that Lee, who is a board member of the PDC and InvestPenang, is also the Special Investment Advisor to the Chief Minister of Penang. It is not known what transpired between Chow and him.

Lee served as the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Health from 2004 to 2008, and was member of Parliament for the Jelutong Constituency (1999-2008), prior to which he was Seberang Perai Municipal Councillor (1997-1999).

Edited BySurin Murugiah
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