GEORGE TOWN (June 12, 2012): The Penang legal adviser’s office is taking steps to recover the RM14.1 million paid to a businessman after the Federal Court last month ruled in favour of the state over his land alienation suit.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today that efforts to reclaim the money from plaintiff Tang Hak Ju through legal channels have already begun.

He said that the state government was directed by the High Court to pay the amount for the courts to hold the money in trust, but the High Court then released it to Tan.

The amount was the first instalment from a total of RM28.6 million compensation to be paid to Tang as ruled by the High Court on Oct 4, 2005 after the state wrongfully alienated private land to him.

On May 7 this year, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s ruling to overturn the High Court’s decision. The amount payable by the state to Tang is now about RM600,000.

Lim said it was puzzling why the previous Barisan Nasional state executive council and land committee handed the private land to Tang despite five government departments having already rejected Tang’s application.

“Since BN has now admitted its mistake, can we claim the money from BN if we fail to get our money back?” he told a press conference at his office here.
He also demand answers from BN leaders on why no one was punished for the affair if indeed it was a mistake.

Penang BN political affairs chief Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan had on Monday questioned what the state was doing to recover the money.

Meanwhile, state housing committee chairman Wong Hon Wai said the Penang Island Municipal Council has no record of any application to build low-cost houses on a 0.45ha state land at Jalan Zainal Abidin.

He said the 0.45ha was too small for adequate low-cost housing, and had therefore been put on open tender for a hospital project which would not increase traffic in the area.