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Monday April 14, 2008

Discount 'punishment' for Second Penang Bridge delay

MYT 5:10:17 PM

PENANG: The state government wants a “toll discount” to be given to Penangites if the Second Penang Bridge is not completed by Jan 1, 2011.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state would ask for the punitive provision to be enforced as a “guarantee that the delivery of the project is on schedule.”

“The bridge is a federal project but is on state land. Ultimately, the cost of the building will be borne by Penangites, so we will discuss this matter privately with the federal government and the contractor involved,” he said after Vasakhi prayers at the Gurdwara Sahib Temple on Monday.

Lim also said the state wanted to know the toll rates for the 24km bridge (of which 17km will be on water) which would link Batu Maung on the island with Batu Kawan in Seberang Prai. “For example, if toll charges are RM9, a discount of 15% should be given if the project is late. Otherwise, they can take forever to complete the structure. If this cannot be done, we will have to explore other possibilities,” he said.

Asked to comment on the bridge cost escalating from the initial RM3.5bil to RM4.3bil, Lim said he would wait for an official report before commenting.

It was recently reported that the federal government had finalised the cost of the second Penang bridge at RM4.3 billion. The decision was reportedly made at a meeting held on April 11 between the Finance Ministry, bridge builder UEM Builders Bhd and main contractor China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC).

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