No time limit for Pulau Jerejak report, says PAC
January 19, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that it will not set a deadline for the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report on the Pulau Jerejak island resort development, which Penang claims has cost the state RM30 million. Its chairman, Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid, confirmed that PAC has agreed to formalise the request today to the A-G.
“The committee has agreed today to get the Auditor-General to give us some info into what is going on in Pulau Jerejak. So the Auditor-General will have to do the auditing before giving it (the report) to PAC.
“We have not given a timeline. We don’t give them timeline,” he told reporters after chairing PAC meeting in parliament here.
The 362ha island off the eastern coast of Penang once served as a penal and leper colony but was turned into a resort by a joint-venture company approved by former Barisan Nasional (BN) Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
The remodelled island is now run by Tropical Island Resort (TIR), which owes the state RM10.6 million in unpaid land premium. UDA holds a 51 per cent stake in TIR with the balance owned by state-owned Penang Development Corporation (PDC).
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is also PDC chairman, said besides the outstanding premium payments, the project had also caused the state agency to suffer a RM19 million loss which it cannot recoup.
Lim also said almost all usable land on the former leper colony had been handed over to UDA during Koh’s 15-year tenure as chief minister.
He was quoted in the local media today as saying the state government was willing to buy UDA’s stake in TIR if the federal agency paid for the land and land premium.
Earlier, Azmi had chaired an inquiry on Penang Port for malpractice and irregularities as underlined in the recent Auditor-General’s 2009 report.
Azmi said that the PAC was satisfied with the explanation given by the port’s chief executive officer, Datuk Ahmad Ibni Hajar, but refused to divulge any details under Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Order 85.
The Standing Order stipulates that any statement recorded before the legislative committee must be embargoed until its final report is tabled before Parliament.
Penang Port is a wholly government-owned subsidiary under the Finance Ministry.