No money paid for project, says Lim


GEORGE TOWN: Not a single sen has been paid for the undersea tunnel project so far, says Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Instead, he said, the Penang government has paid RM208mil so far for the completion of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports for the three highways under the RM6.3bil mega project comprising the undersea tunnel and the highways.

He said the payment for Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd was done through two land swaps, totalling 3.7 acres (1.49ha) with a nett development value of RM1,300 per sq ft.

“What has been paid so far is for the EIA reports of the three highways which have since been approved. The price fixed at RM1,300 per sq ft is above market price. It is done between the state and Zenith,” he said during a press conference at Komtar yesterday.

On Tuesday, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested two “Datuks” involved in the controversial Penang undersea tunnel project to help in investigations into claims of corruption.

The duo, who were picked up in Putrajaya and Penang, have since been remanded for six days.

Lim said the project was awarded to Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Consortium Zenith BUCG) in 2013 via an open tender.

He said HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd (HSSI), a specialist engineering consultant, was appointed in 2014 to assess the claims and designs by Consortium Zenith.

“Consortium Zenith claimed RM302mil for the job. But after assessment by HSSI, the justified amount claimable was RM208mil,” he said, adding that he had mistakenly announced that the evaluation was done by international accounting firm KPMG instead of HSSI.

Lim also said the project was awarded to Consortium Zenith by a committee chaired by the state secretary, adding that none of the state exco members were on the committee.

On investigations by the MACC, Lim said he had instructed all the relevant parties to give their full cooperation.

“We are confident there will be no irregularity and corruption involved in the award of the infrastructure project,” he said.

Asked why the feasibility study of the undersea tunnel has yet to be completed, Lim said there was no rush as the project was only expected to complete in 2027.

He also denied a news report that the state government had allowed the Penang tunnel special purpose vehicle (SPV) company to pre-sell state land rights worth RM3bil.

He said it was untrue as the state did not pay for uncompleted work of the Penang undersea tunnel project as claimed.

“Prove it that we approved the pre-selling of land rights. Where did they get the RM3bil figure? The feasibility study of the tunnel is 92% completed but not a single sen has been paid for the project.

“It would take about four year to carry out the project. We prefer to focus on the three highways,” he said.

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