Settle reclamation, land acquisition first for mega infrastructure projects – DAP government told

 |Apr 2, 2017
Political analyst Azizi Safar said the RM6.34 billion mega infrastructure projects – tunnel or third bridge, and three paired highways, will not take off until and unless the state government had acquired federal-owned land parcels and completed the reclamation project at Bagan Ajam in Penang mainland.

After spending millions to carry out the feasibility and detailed design studies for the three paired roads and undersea tunnel, or now third bridge, only now the Penang government had realised that some land parcels needed to construct the mega infrastructure projects were federal-owned.

And, political analyst Azizi Safar slammed the state government ineptitude as “shocking and amusing”.

He said that only an incompetent state government would not be aware that it does not own plots of land along the alignment of the proposed roads, tunnel or bridge.

“The state government should have resolved this land ownership issue first before even announcing its mega project dream.

“Don’t tell me that the state government was so dumb not to realise this earlier,” blasted Azizi when contacted by Malaysia Outlook.

He said the state government should have first acquired the required parcels of land before even announcing the timeline to carry out the projects.

Moreover, he said the DAP-led Penang government had also not received any approval for the proposed reclamation project at Bagan Ajam in Penang mainland, which was integral part of the mega infrastructure projects.

“If the state government didn’t complete the reclamation project and acquire the federal-owned land parcels, the mega projects cannot take off.

“The state government knows this, but is hoodwinking the people as if the projects had virtually been finalised and were ready to take off,” rebuked Azizi.

The DAP-led Penang government had allocated an exorbitant RM305 million for the feasibility and detaled design studies that was scheduled to start in 2013 and be ready by early this year.

Out of RM305 million, RM135 million has been paid.

However, the state government had prolonged the completion of the studies and yet to submit all relevant documents on the feasibility and detailed design studies to Ministry of Public Works until today.

In May last year, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng challenged the federal government to grant approval to the state government’s proposal to build a third sea bridge linking the island and mainland.

The bridge was mooted as an alternative to the previously proposed undersea tunnel.

Like the tunnel, the bridge project too will co-exist with the three by-pass highway projects, which will cost a total RM6.34 billion.

Some RM2.83 billion worth of state land swapped for the project was pre-sold by the undersea tunnel concession company to a listed company in signing ceremony attended by Guan Eng on January 15 last year.

Recently the state executive councillor in charge of infrastructure, Lim Hock Seng said the first phase of the project was to start only in mid-2018.

Azizi said the land acquisition and reclamation were crucial for the take-off and landing areas of the tunnel or bridge, and three paired highways.

He said the state government should come clean in all these land acquisition and reclamation project before giving a new timeline to start and complete the projects.

“People had enough of the DAP-led government political theatrics. They want delivery and actions, not mere words and rhetoric political showmanship,” blasted Azizi.

Related links:
Explain why the delay in studies on third bridge – MIC demands Penang government

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Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.