Penang adamant on going ahead with undersea tunnel despite MACC probe

 |Jan 10, 2018
– File pic credit Facebook CM Lim Guan Eng

GEORGE TOWN: The DAP-led Penang state government is adamant on going ahead with the undersea tunnel despite it currently being probed for irregularities by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today announced that the undersea tunnel linking the Penang island from Persiaran Gurney to Mainland in Bagan Ajam will still go on as there is a valid contract, citing open competitive tender granted as a reason for the state to continue the project.

“Unless we are instructed otherwise by court that order us not to go on, if not it will proceed,” Lim told a press conference at his office in Komtar here today.

He explained that the project was not only a tunnel project but comprised three highways, insisting that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report has been secured.

“We have secured the EIA report for the three highways and it will proceed,” explained Lim.

The 7.2-km long undersea tunnel project which connects Persiaran Gurney on Penang island to Bagan Ajam in Seberang Perai, and also three highways, was awarded to Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (Zenith), comprising several companies.

The controversial project is linked to various controversies namely the high cost of the feasibility studies as well as the payment method involving the exchange of state government land that resulted in several individuals lodging reports to the MACC.

Lim however denied knowledge of the MACC raid yesterday which saw two individuals with the title ‘Datuk’ being remanded today.

Saying that there was nothing to hide, Lim assured that he had instructed his officers to give full cooperation to the MACC since 2016 throughout the process of investigations and to provide whatever necessary documents needed by the MACC.

Earlier today, two company directors bearing the title Datuk were remanded in Putrajaya and George Town magistrate’s courts respectively today to assist investigations on the undersea tunnel project.

Lim also expressed surprise and described the raids as “sudden crackdown” by the MACC on the companies involved in the proposed Penang Undersea Tunnel project.

He remarked that the MACC is seen to only make its move now after nearly two years of investigations despite the project being awarded through an open tender system.

He also expressed hope that the latest investigation was not due to the election cycle before weighing the possibility of “attack” by pro-Barisan Nasional forces against the state government.

“And I am also astonished why this investigation never ended since it began in 2016. We wonder what you (MACC) are investigating.

“We have given full cooperation to MACC, then and now. We hope this (latest investigation) is not because of the election cycle” said Lim.