TUNNEL OR BRIDGE, WORKS MINISTRY NOT BEHIND DELAYS
Penang govt has not given any updates, says minister
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.
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