Penang ready to be taken to court over mega project

 |Jul 5, 2017
File pic credit Facebook CM Lim Guan Eng.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government has expressed readiness in waiting for a lawsuit from Gerakan with regards to preventing the undersea tunnel and three major roads to be built.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, in saying this also accused Barisan Nasional (BN) as a traditional saboteur of the state’s progress.

Likening the current situation to that during the construction of large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the SPICE project in Bayan Lepas in 2013, Lim said he was fed up with the repetitive questions posed by Gerakan.

“We have time and again provided all the information based on their questions but they have been asking meaningless questions.

“We believe when you have greater connectivity, it promotes economic growth and easier access for the population.

“If BN wants to sabotage that, so that our projects fail and people lose out on projects with better connectivity, we will let the people decide.

“We are waiting for the action to be taken in court, because we have nothing to hide. All the projects are done by open competitive tender, which means the lowest price is chosen. So how can there be any wrongdoing?” he told reporters after announcing the return of the George Town Literary Festival which will be held from November 24 to 26 at the Penang Majestic Theatre.

Lim was referrring to a plan by a Gerakan leader to file a court injunction to prevent the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three major roads project from taking off.

This after claiming the Penang government had overpaid consultants, which the latter denied.

“We have been subjected to similar criticism. Let them sue, just like what they did with SPICE but eventually the court threw out the suit,” Lim told a press conference here today.

SPICE, or the Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre sits on a 10.11ha plot and was previously the Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa).

On November 21, 2011, four ratepayers filed a civil suit seeking a High Court order to declare the SPICE agreement signed between the then Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) and developer Eco-Meridian Sdn Bhd (EMSB) as null and void.

The four plaintiffs in the suit were R Rama Krishnan, Abd Manan Abd Manap, K Sathiasilan, and Khoo Yen Her.

Rama and Khoo are Gerakan members, while Manan was then Bayan Baru Umno secretary and Sathiasilan was Bayan Baru MIC chief.

The four claimed that the agreement signed on Aug 19, 2011, was ultra vires of Section 9(1) of the Local Government Act 1976.