Tanjong PKR division chief Ng Chek Siang slammed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Penang on its failure to submit the report on its findings on the proposed undersea tunnel at the last state assembly sitting.
“This is a very serious matter as the PAC committee is accountable to the people of Penang,” he said in a statement today.
Pointing out on a survey carried out on Sep 23 via Facebook page of Penang PKR, he said that 97% out of 710 respondents agreed that the PAC should disclose and make public its findings on the proposed tunnel project.
The mega tunnel project is estimated to cost RM6.3 billion.
“This amount is huge and I believe this will have a great impact on our future generation and as a resident of Penang, I am worried about the debt that we are imposing on our future generation, “ said Ng, while questioning the cost of the tunnel’s feasibility study, which is RM305 million.
“It is questionable and suspicious. There should be more public hearing on this matter before any decisions were made.
He said that exchanging a state land for a feasibility study was simply not a good bargain, especially when the feasibility study does not guarantee a green light for the project.
“What if the tunnel project fails? Wouldn’t the land given in lieu of the RM305 million feasibility study would have been in vain?” he asked.
He said that the PAC was responsible body to oversee government expenditures and to ensure that public spending was justified.
He said the committee was a crucial mechanism for transparency and accountability in the financial dealings within the government.
Ng said that PAC must not be used as a political tool or as a rubber stamp to endorse government expenditures, pointing out that even though 1MDB was cleared by the PAC at the federal level, the matter was now under international scrutiny.
Thus, he claimed all credibility of that federal PAC had gone down the drain.
He said PAC Penang should use the opportunity to set a good example to the federal government and the policy makers as well as to prove to the people that PAC Penang can be a shining example of good governance with good democratic practices.
“Therefore, PAC Penang should take immediate steps to address this potential pitfall.” said Ng.
He said the British left the country with a functioning democracy, which the people should make full use of.
He said the system and laws governing the states and country were comprehensive and sufficiently allowed the people to have a balanced representation for them.
Therefore, he said the DAP-led Penang government should not disappoint and fail the people who voted them into positions of power.
He insisted that there should be no more excuses for an honest and reliable PAC report on the tunnel to be tabled at next state assembly siting in November.
“The trust of Penangites should not be taken for granted,” said Ng.
Meanwhile, State PAC Chairman A Tanasekharan explained that the previous delay in providing the PAC report on the tunnel cost was due to the delay in the detailed environment impact assessment (DEIA).
He assured that the full PAC report would be ready by the next sitting.
The undersea tunnel project is a part of the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), which aims to build a network of new roads and public transport lines.
The 7.2km-long tunnel is proposed to be built at least 20 metres below the seabed with four lanes is expected to be completed by 2025.
Zenith-BUCG won an open tender to build the tunnel and the three paired roads in 2013.