PETALING JAYA: Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof (pix) says he does not want to engage in unnecessary “ping-pong” press statement politics over the proposed Penang undersea tunnel and its three associated paired roads.
In a statement on Thursday, Fadillah said it would be a dereliction of the Ministry’s duties if they were to approve a project that could have a negative impact on traffic in the surrounding areas or causes difficulties for nearby ports.
“I am the Works Minister and I am here to do work for the benefit of all including Penang - not to engage in unnecessary ‘ping-pong’ press statement politics,” he said.
Fadillah reminded Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng that any major transport infrastructure projects, particularly one that crosses the sea, could not exist on its own and would have an impact on the traffic flow of the surrounding existing or planned roads and sea routes.
According to Fadillah, he considered the matter closed but would revisit this once the Penang government was ready to cooperate and submit the necessary reports on the project as promised by Lim.
He said the Ministry was curious to see the feasibility and detailed design reports that had cost the Penang government RM305mil.
“It would certainly be illogical for my Ministry to approve a major multi-billion ringgit infrastructure project based on a two-page letter alone without the benefit of any supporting documents, route alignments and traffic flow projections,” Fadillah explained.
He also said the Ministry considered the request for the third bridge no longer urgent due to the delay in the starting date for construction.
“YAB Lim told the press last week that he can already submit the reports but shockingly, he now says he can only submit by early next year,” he said.
Fadillah also remarked that the idea to replace the tolled tunnel with a toll-free bridge only came about after the Penang government was unable to withstand scrutiny from various parties including from then Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
“It is doubtful that this proposed change would even have come about without the scrutiny and this sudden change to a bridge appears to be a deliberate diversion to escape from such scrutiny,” he said.