Post­pone­ments show it can’t carry out mega projects, says BN rep

New Straits Times - - News - BALVIN KAUR GE­ORGE TOWN

APENANG as­sem­bly­man has ques­tioned the state gov­ern­ment over de­lays in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project to build an un­der­sea tun­nel and three ac­com­pa­ny­ing high­ways.

Pu­lau Be­tong as­sem­bly­man Datuk Muham­mad Farid Saad said the project had yet to start de­spite the state gov­ern­ment’s as­sur­ance that it would be­gin in 2014.

He said the state gov­ern­ment’s ex­cuses over the de­lays were not rea­son­able.

“The RM6.3 bil­lion agree­ment for the Un­der­sea Tun­nel and three Pan Is­land Link (PIL) high­ways was inked in 2013, with the fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies for the tun­nel to be com­pleted in 2014.

“(Con­struc­tion of) the 12km Jalan Teluk Ba­hang-Tan­jung Bun­gah link was sup­posed to start in 2015 and com­pleted at the end of 2017. The 4.2km Air Itam-Le­buhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu link was sup­posed to start early last year and com­pleted late next year.

“How­ever, un­til now, the projects have not taken off.”

The state gov­ern­ment had pro­posed the 6.5km Un­der­sea Tun­nel project as a third link be­tween the is­land and the main­land.

The PILs, which will mea­sure 20km long, will in­clude a 4.2km by­pass from Per­siaran Gur­ney to Per­siaran Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu.

The con­tract for the project was awarded to Con­sor­tium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd.

Farid said the start­ing dates of the high­ways’ con­struc­tion were first post­poned to early last year.

How­ever, he said, the state gov­ern­ment later said al­though the fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies and de­tailed de­signs of the three high­ways were com­pleted, con­struc­tions could only be­gin in mid­dle of last year.

“In July 2016, we were told that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project had been post­poned un­til 2017 be­cause the con­trac­tors were not sure if the high­ways’ de­signs would be able to sup­port storm wa­ter dis­per­sal. They said fur­ther stud­ies had to be un­der­taken.

“In De­cem­ber 2016, we were told there would be another post­pone­ment as they found parts of the land along the sug­gested route for the high­ways were Fed­eral land.”

Farid said the state gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment meant the con­struc­tion would start next year.

“The project was sup­posed to be com­pleted in 2017 and 2018, but now it would only start in mid-2018? Why spend mil­lions on fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies only to re­alise that the land along the route does not be­long to the state gov­ern­ment?”

Farid said the con­sor­tium’s failure in im­ple­ment­ing the projects showed the state gov­ern­ment’s in­com­pe­tence in car­ry­ing out mega projects.

“With this project’s failure, how can we be confident in the state gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to im­ple­ment the Pe­nang Trans­port Master Plan, which will cost RM40 bil­lion?”

With this project’s failure, how can we be confident in the state gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to im­ple­ment the Pe­nang Trans­port Master Plan...? DATUK MUHAM­MAD FARID SAAD Pu­lau Be­tong as­sem­bly­man

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