TUN­NEL OR BRIDGE, WORKS MIN­ISTRY NOT BE­HIND DE­LAYS

Pe­nang govt has not given any up­dates, says min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR

THE Works Min­istry has ex­pressed its con­cern over the Pe­nang Tun­nel project. Its min­is­ter Datuk Seri Fadil­lah Yu­sof said this in re­gard to the study in­volv­ing the pro­posed con­struc­tion of the third bridge be­tween the is­land and the main­land.

He said, af­ter com­ing un­der in­tense scru­tiny by many par­ties as to why the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment had ap­par­ently agreed to fully fi­nance the pro­posed Pe­nang Tun­nel via a swap of state land but was still giv­ing the pri­vate op­er­a­tor a 30-year toll con­ces­sion early last year, the Pe­nang chief min­is­ter had then said he wanted to re­place the tun­nel with a lower-cost third bridge.

Fadil­lah said in May 2016, the state gov­ern­ment wrote to his min­istry to re­quest for ap­proval for the third bridge with­out pro­vid­ing a sin­gle piece of sup­port­ing doc­u­ment.

“Un­able to pro­ceed with the ap­pli­ca­tion with­out the sup­port­ing doc­u­ments, our min­istry had, over the fol­low­ing months, asked five times for the fea­si­bil­ity and de­tailed de­sign stud­ies which would cost the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment RM305 mil­lion, of which at least RM135 mil­lion had been paid out as at May 2016,” he said, here, yes­ter­day.

Fadil­lah said that on Aug 6, 2016, the state gov­ern­ment then ad­mit­ted that the stud­ies were not fully com­pleted. It had then stated that the stud­ies were 83 per cent com­pleted and promised to de­liver the stud­ies to the min­istry by early this year.

“To­day marks the end of the first quar­ter of 2017. Our min­istry wishes to up­date the pub­lic that we have yet to re­ceive the stud­ies. There­fore, the fault for any de­lays do not lie with us.

“We also wish to ex­press cer­tain con­cerns about this project and of­fer our as­sis­tance to the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment should it need help,” he said.

It was re­ported that these stud­ies had be­gun in late 2013.

The con­ces­sion com­pany, awarded the RM6.34 bil­lion Pe­nang Tun­nel and three linked roads, had stated in Jan­uary 2014 that the stud­ies would be com­pleted and re­vealed to the pub­lic by April 2014.

“We are con­cerned about this de­lay,” he said. “Al­though the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment had de­fended the RM305 mil­lion cost of the stud­ies as be­ing rea­son­able, the Works Min­istry be­lieves the cost is ex­ces­sive and be­yond the usual cost guide­lines for con­struc­tion projects of this na­ture.

“We have the ex­per­tise to com­plete the stud­ies on time and at a lower cost. We again ex­tend our will­ing­ness to ex­plore with the state gov­ern­ment should it re­quire help,” he said.

“We note that at least RM135 mil­lion had been paid by the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment for the stud­ies, gave them a chan­nel to dis­play their tal­ents.

At the event, Tengku Amir made him­self avail­able for self­ies with the event’s par­tic­i­pants.

The pho­tos can be posted for and RM2.83 bil­lion of Pe­nang state land swapped for this project had been pre-sold by the tun­nel con­ces­sion com­pany to a listed com­pany. The sign­ing cer­e­mony on Jan 15, last year was at­tended by the Pe­nang chief min­is­ter,” he added.

Fadil­lah said de­spite this pay­ment and pre-sell­ing of state land, the min­istry noted that the first phase of the project was ini­tially ex­pected to start con­struc­tion in 2015. “Since 2015, the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment had re­vised the time­line sev­eral times, cit­ing var­i­ous rea­sons.

“Re­cently, the Pe­nang Exco mem­ber in charge of in­fras­tuc­ture said the first phase of the project was ex­pected to start con­struc­tion only in the mid­dle of 2018, at the ear­li­est.

“Our min­istry con­tin­ues to ex­press our con­cern on the mul­ti­ple de­lays, the cost of the stud­ies and the cost of this project.” en­try in the Youth com­pe­ti­tion, launched at the event.

Also present was Me­dia Prima In­de­pen­dent Non-Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and Mem­ber of the Audit Com­mit­tee Datuk Loo Took Gee.

PIC BY ROSELA IS­MAIL

Raja Muda Se­lan­gor Tengku Amir Shah Sul­tan Shara­fud­din Idris Shah (sec­ond from left) at the launch of the Youth Expo 2017 in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day. With him are (from left) Kaza­khstan Em­bassy Coun­sel­lor Dr Serik Amirov, Green­tech Malaysia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ah­mad Hadri Haris and Me­dia Prima In­de­pen­dent nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and mem­ber of the Audit Com­mit­tee Datuk Loo Took Gee.

Datuk Seri Fadil­lah Yu­sof

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