GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was today told that he could no longer keep quiet over the proposed Penang undersea tunnel project.
This comes after the arrest of two senior executives of two private companies, who were suspected to be involved in the controversial project.
Penang MCA liaison committee secretary Tang Heap Seng said Lim should come clean on the reasons for granting the contractor RM200 million worth of land.
“As the Chief Minister, Lim cannot keep evading and shirking responsibility.
“It is time for him to come forward and give an explanation to the people, taxpayers, Penangites and quarters like MCA, Gerakan and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who have been pestering him for answers.
“For the Penang government to build the undersea tunnel, it is illogical to grant a RM220 million parcel of land to the contractor when the RM305 million priced feasibility report had not been completed and the project has not even started,” he said today.
Tang said what puzzled him was why the Penang government had treated the project contractor so kind.
“Now that the land has been given out, the feasibility report is nowhere to be seen, and there has been one delay after another.
“Why does the feasibility report need an expenditure of up to RM305 million to complete? Is there anyone in our country or the world who has spent RM305 million to carry out a feasibility study?
“If no, then will this study which accounts for 30 per cent of the construction cost set a new world record? he asked.
Tang said according to Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, the Penang government had promised to submit the feasibility report in April 2016 but it later changed its words, saying that submission would only be done at the end of 2016.
“They then promised to submit it six months after the deadline in March 2017.
“But the Penang government failed to submit the report even after the six month period.
“So when will this feasibility report be ready?” he further questioned.
Yesterday, Lim had told newsmen that the state government had not paid a single sen for feasibility studies of the RM6.3 billion project.
He had insisted that the state government had only paid by swapping land for the three highways, which is part of the overall project.
The 7.2km undersea tunnel was awarded to Consortium Zenith. It was proposed to connect Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam on the mainland.
The feasibility studies for the tunnel had been delayed for almost two years, and last October, Consortium Zenith claimed there was no hurry to complete the studies as the project is only expected to start in 2023.
The three highways consist of a 10.53km North Coastal Paired Road from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang, a 5.7km Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass and a 4.075km Gurney Drive – Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass.