GEORGE TOWN: Penang Development Corp (PDC), the state government’s investment arm, plans to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for the redevelopment of a piece of land in Tanjung Bungah, Penang — which was allegedly reclaimed illegally in the early 2000s — into a marina park in the middle of next year.
Tanjung Bungah state assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu said the land, which is located adjacent to the ongoing luxury 1 Tanjong project, was taken over by the state government last year.
He said the decision was made last year by the state land development committee headed by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for PDC to issue a RFP for redevelopment of the site, measuring some 1.2ha (three acres).
According to a source close to the matter, PDC is in the midst of preparing the document and will present it to the Penang government for approval before it is advertised in the media in the middle of 2015.
It is understood that the new redevelopment plan will feature a restaurant and fuel-filling facilities for boats and yachts at the marina park.
To recap, the land was allegedly reclaimed between 2000 and 2006 by Province Valley Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Penang-based Lone Pine Group of Companies, for its 1 Tanjong project, which has a gross development value (GDV) of RM350 million.
The project consists of two 41-storey towers dubbed Tower A and Tower B housing a total of 147 units, but according to the National Housing Department website of the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, the development has been categorised as “sick”.
The website revealed that Tower A and Tower B were 79% and 90% complete respectively as at Sept 30, 2014. However, a visit to the site revealed that Tower B received its occupancy certificate (OC) in June this year.
Meanwhile, Teh pointed out that part of the reclaimed land measuring 6,072 sq m was allegedly given temporary occupation licence (TOL) before 2008, thereby giving it a legal status.
“The remaining piece measuring about three acres was not included and is now state land. There was much hue and cry by the residents in Tanjung Bungah against the entire reclamation in the past.
“The residents claimed that they were losing access to the beach, which they said should be kept open to the public,” Teh recalled.
“Campaigns were organised against the reclamation that was called a ‘sore thumb’. It was because the part that juts out to the sea looked like a thumb next to four tall condominiums,” he added.
Teh said the state government then decided to take over the piece of unlicensed land in order to turn it into a marina park following the protests.
When contacted by The Edge Financial Daily, State Works, Utilities and Transport committee chairman Lim Hock Seng confirmed that the state land development committee had asked PDC to carry out the RFP for the land that was part of the 1 Tanjong development.
However, a Lone Pine manager, who declined to be named, said he was unaware of the proposed RFP and the alleged land takeover because the developer is still in negotiation with the state authorities.
“We are still negotiating with the authorities pertaining to the proposal to turn it into a marina park. We abided by the state’s request to build an access road and a roundabout to that piece of land. Initially, an approval was given by the state for us to develop the land, but there were some changes and it has now been halted,” he said.
He added that the developer intends to participate in the RFP process if the state goes ahead to issue a RFP next year as it has interest in developing the land according to requirements.
“Logically, it should be a continuity to our 1 Tanjong project and it (proposed marina park) is a win-win facility for the public due to the conducive and comfortable environment. It will also enhance the value of this property. We will continue to apply for an approval to develop it. But nothing is finalised yet,” the Lone Pine manager said.
However, he declined to reveal why the sea land was reclaimed without permission from the state.
According to Lone Pine Group’s website, the 1 Tanjong project is marketed as a luxury beachfront living concept in Tanjung Bungah, located at the former Tanjung Country Club site and next to the Penang Swimming Club.
The website also stated that Lone Pine Group has completed residential and commercial projects of over 2,300 units amounting to RM303 million. The group will continue to embark on current and future projects with a GDV of more than RM860 million.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 10, 2014.