Penang mega infrastructure projects – RM305 million for mere studies is scandalous

 |Apr 3, 2017
Penang Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong feels that the RM305 million spent on mere studies for mega infrastructure projects were exorbitant and scandalous.

The RM305 million channelled by the Penang government in a land swap deal to conduct the feasibility and detailed design studies for mega infrastructure projects was scandalous.

Penang Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong said the state government had wasted public-owned land parcels to finance the studies for the projects, which included originally an undersea tunnel but now a third bridge, and three paired highways.

He said all these projects were nothing new as they were all planned under the previous Barisan Nasional-helmed state government, which had also conducted and concluded all related studies for the projects, in 1990s.

Following the studies, then Barisan government decided to scrap the bridge or tunnel project after finding it not feasible.

Later the Barisan government went on to build the second bridge between Batu Maung and Batu Kawan.

The three paired highways were actually planned under the Penang Outer Ring Road (Porr), which was suspended following a public uproar.

“So what the current state government has to do is only to update those studies at minimum cost.

“The state need not spend an exorbitant RM305 million via a land swap deal to fund the studies.

“The land swap deal should not have happened. The land could have been used to build low-cost and low-medium cost houses for Penangites.

“The money spent via the land swap deal for feasibility and detailed design studies for these projects is scandalous,” thundered Oh.

The local Gerakan leader said nine years on since the DAP-led coalition took over the Penang government, the state government has not only failed to fulfill many of its promises but also failed to resolve many pressing issues.

“Indeed the problems have worsened under the DAP government,” stressed Oh.

For instance, he recalled that when it took over power from Barisan, then DAP-led state government announced that it would implement an industrial blueprint for the state.

But, Oh said until today, “the blueprint is yet to see the light of day.”

He pointed out that the DAP government claimed that it was capable of resolving the flood problem in Penang, indeed promise to come up with a flood mitigation master plan.

But not only it failed to resolve the issue, he said flooding had indeed worsened with places previously unfamiliar with flood were now regularly suffering from knee-high water level during heavy rain.

“Until now, the Penangites are yet to see the flood mitigation blueprint,” hit out Oh.

He said the state government had always claimed to have built many affordable homes for the lower income group, but all it had to show were homes built or planned by the previous Barisan administration.

He said the DAP-led government could not pinpoint at any housing schemes that it can claim bragging rights despite numerous requests by Gerakan.

“Traffic congestion has also become worse,” he said, adding that foreign investments into Penang too had dropped in recent years.

He reminded the DAP-led Penang government to stop hoodwinking the people with its constant political theatrics and get down to serious business of doing the right things for the people.

He called on Penangites to realise that they had voted in a DAP-led state government that had not been competent, accountable and transparent (CAT) as it claimed to be.

“All in all, Penang has gone backwards. The DAP-led government is only good in political wayang kulit (shadow play),” blasted Oh.

Related links: Explain why the delay in studies on third bridge – MIC demands Penang government
Settle reclamation, land acquisition first for mega infrastructure projects – DAP government told

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