MCA questions 'RM385mil per km' highway cost

PETALING JAYA: Penang MCA Youth has questioned the Penang state government if it had sought advice from the Public Works Department (JKR) for cheaper alternatives to its current infrastructure projects.

State MCA Youth chief Datuk Michael Lee Beng Seng (pic) asked why mega infrastructure projects in the state cost significantly more than similar projects by the Federal Government.

Lee said that the state government had disclosed that the construction cost of the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) would be RM7.5bil.

"This is equivalent to a staggering cost of RM385mil per kilometre – easily the most expensive highway in Malaysia by far.

"This cost is 140% more than the RM161mil per km cost of the planned Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) in Selangor," said Lee in a statement on Tuesday.

He added that elected representatives from DAP had claimed that Kidex was the most expensive highway in Malaysia three years ago.

"Has the state government consulted with the JKR on alternatives with a lower cost?" he asked.

In referring to the consultation fees paid by the Penang state government for three paired roads meant for the proposed undersea tunnel, Lee asked the state government to disclose how much the reports for PIL 1 cost.

"How much will the Penang state government be borrowing from China or other banks to fund this RM7.5bil highway as well as the RM8.4bil LRT?" he asked, referring to the Bayan Lepas LRT project.

Lee was responding to a statement on Monday by the Penang state government, which said that the RM8.4bil cost of the Bayan Lepas LRT project had not increased from the RM7bil previously quoted, rather, that it included RM1bil in land acquisition costs among other additional costs.

The statement had also said that the RM7.5bil cost of the PIL 1 would be different from other highways as about 40% of the highway's alignment consists of tunnels.

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