By Mohd Farhan Darwis and Lisa J. Ariffin
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Datuk Seri Azalina Othman today dismissed PAS’ Salahuddin Ayub’s claims that Putrajaya was acquiring Pengerang land for less than market price, saying the government was paying up to RM8 per square foot for its land acquisition.
The Pengerang MP today dismissed the PAS vice-president’s (picture) claims that Putrajaya was only paying RM2.80 a square foot for Pengerang land, which will be used for the development of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC) in Johor.
“That is all just irresponsible claims and rumours on the whole. The compensation price of RM2.80 is for land away from the main roads. The government considers not only land price, but buildings including the crops on the land,” Azalina told reporters in parliament today here.
“So far the highest price given is RM8 per square foot,” she added.
The Pengerang Umno division chief also dismissed claims by Pengerang residents that the development project will bring detrimental effects to the area’s overall environment as well as the villagers’ livelihood.
She added that according to the Johor Petroleum Development Corporation, the first phase of relocation, which involved the submission of 179 agreement forms, have been submitted without any protest.
“The first phase of acquiring 179 agreement forms has been completed. From that number, 70 have accepted without protest, and 109 have accepted but with conditions,” she said.
“None have rejected,” she stressed.
Azalina said Pengerang was chosen as it was the main route used by cargo ships on route to China.
“It is the route of hundreds of ships. This has been the case for the past 10 to 15 years. If you want to talk about environmental damage, it is not a tourist destination,” she said, adding Salahuddin was only using the issue as political ammunition ahead of the upcoming election.
Azalina then questioned the opposition’s sincerity in organising a rally on Sunday in protest of the project. She also challenged Salahuddin to a debate on the issue.
“Where is the opposition’s sincerity? This rally is politically motivated and is not sincere.
“What is the use of a rally with many outsiders and none from my constituency?” she asked.
“I challenge Salahuddin Ayub to debate this issue anytime, anywhere before the election.”
Salahuddin today announced the setting up of Mantap, an organisation formed by the party’s central committee to resolve the Pengerang land-grab issue for the development of PIPC.
The Kubang Kerian MP said today Mantap would ensure the development in Pengerang would not affect the wellbeing of its villagers.
Salahuddin also said Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has estimated 15,000 to 20,000 of its members will participate in the Pengerang Everlasting Green Rally to protest against the project this Sunday.
The gathering will be held at Dataran Sungai Rempit in Pengerang from 10am to noon.
Members of the public can call 019-757-5652 or visit www.hijau.info for more information.