Chief Minister Must Explain The High RM25 Million Construction Cost Of The 9-Storey Menara PERTAM In Melaka Baru And  The Low Land Premium Imposed  Of RM1.33 Per Square Feet On A 13 Acre Piece Of Prime Land Next To Pasar Borong Batu Berendam

Press Statement
by Betty Chew Gek Cheng

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Mohd. Ali Rustam must explain the high RM25million constructon cost of the 9-storey Menara Perbadanan Tanah Adat Melaka(PERTAM) in Melaka Baru and the low land premium imposed of only RM1.33 per square feet on a 13-acre piece of prime land  next to the Pasar Borong  Batu Berendam.

In a written reply to my questions  in the recently concluded Melaka State Assembly meeting on 14 May 2003, the Chief Minister said that "the 9-storey Menara PERTAM was buiilt at a cost of RM25.2 million with a  built-up area of 13,423 square feet over 2 acre piece of land.. As PERTAM owned the land there was no land cost. The project commenced on 15 November 1999 and was scheduled for completion on 15 November 2001. However CF was only issued on 23 April 2003. No open  tender was made and this construction contract given to Gapadu Development Bhd."

RM25.2 million for constructing a 9-storey building or almost RM3 million per storey is considered high. The Chief Minister should explain:

a) the reasons behind the high cost of RM25.2 million;
b) why the project was 2 years behind schedule;
c) whether any penalties or fines were imposed on the contractor for late completion; and
d) why there was no open tender.

On the 13 acres of prime land next to the wholesalers market in Batu Berendam sold to Capital Farmosa Sdn Bhd at a land premium of RM760,704/- or RM1.33 per sq feet, Datuk Mohd Ali said that the land was valued at such a low rate below market price to enable the houses and shophouses built  to be sold cheaply to the public. The Chief Minister said that the land was approved in 28.2.1996 at a time when the 1996 market value then was RM2.50 per square feet. The land value now in 2003 could be as high as RM5.90 per square feet.

This sale of land gives rise to many questions. If the government is sincere about enabling the public to buy houses at low rates, why does the Govenrment not develop and build houses and shophouses themselves to ensure that they can be sold at a low rate?  What guarantees are there that the  private company will sell the houses and shophouses cheaply to the public?.

There is no need to sell a such low rates to a private company which will only deprive the public of larger funds it could collect if sold at market rates. We are talking of 573,300 square feet and the loss of funds by charging a land  premium of only RM1.33 per square feet as compared to the market rate is not small. Finally, there has been  no development of the land since it was sold to a private company in 1996.The government therefore has a responsibility to explain whether it is in the public interest or how the public interest from selling state land at below market rates.

Datuk Mohd Ramli Said Should Apologise For His Denigrating Remarks Against Women For Asking Those Who Do Not Have Masks To Wear The Bra And Blame Pig Rearing For Causing SARS

The BN State Assemblyman Masjid Tanah Datuk Ramli Mohd Said should apologise for his denigrating remarks in the Melaka State Assembly on 13 May 2003 against women and the Chinese community by asking those who do not have masks to wear the bra instead to protect themselves against SARS and blame pig for causing SARS.

SARS is a deadly disease that has struck down nearly 600 people around the world. Wearing regulation masks is a form of protection against SARSwhich has no cure. To make light of such a deadly disease by asking those who do not have masks to wear masks not only ridicules the efforts
by health authorities to fight SARS, shows disrespect to the victims of SARS and worse of all make fun  women. Datuk Ramli obviously does not treat SARS as a serious matter but I can not understand how he can see those wearing masks as wearing a "bra"

It is such outdated, crude and nasty thoughts of a BN Assemblyman that calls into question the government's promotion of moral, healthy and responsible values. It is disgraceful and irresponsible for an Assemblyman to use his position at the august Melaka State Assembly to show his discriminatory and bias against women. Datuk Mohd Ramli should not forget that his remarks have not only insulted Malaysian women but also the women in his life whether his mother, wife and grown daughter.

If Datuk Mohd Ramli is a gentleman, he should fully apologise to all women for his unacceptable comments. Should he fail to do so, I shall lodge an official complaint with the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister with copies circulated to their spouses.

In my regular rounds and walk about around the Jalan Tun Ali market today, I have also received some complaints about Datuk Mohd Ramli blaming pigs and calling for the banning of pig rearing as he claimed SARS come from pigs. Despite being challenged to do so in the Melaka State Assembly, Datuk Mohd Ramil has not being able to show proof that pigs cause SARS. By making a baseless remark, Datuk Mohd. Ramli is pandering to racial prejudice. Such extremists remarks is dangerous because of its undertone in blaming the Chinese community for consuming pork and rearing pigs which causes SARS. By calling for the banning of pig rearing on the basis of such groundless allegations, Datuk Mohd Ramli is breaking the rice bowl of pig farmers and those who sell pork.

SARS is a deadly disease that requires the united and concerted efforts of all Malaysians to overcome it. At a time when unity is paramount, Datuk Mohd. Ramli's disgraceful actions in denigrating women and making baseless allegations against pigs does not help to enhance co-operation but only serve to increase suspicion and extremism amongst Malaysians. Datuk Mohd. Ramli should withdraw such remarks unless he can show proof that pigs causes  SARS and apologise to pig farmers and the Chinese community.


* Betty  Chew Gek Cheng,  DAP Melaka Chair And State Assemblywoman For Durian Daun