MACC probe shifts to bidding process


Mainland end: An aerial view of Pantai Bersih along Bagan Ajam in north Butterworth where the Penang Undersea Tunnel is expected to link with Gurney Drive on the island.

Mainland end: An aerial view of Pantai Bersih along Bagan Ajam in north Butterworth where the Penang Undersea Tunnel is expected to link with Gurney Drive on the island.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is entering a new phase of its probe into the Penang undersea tunnel project – the bidding process to undertake the feasibility study for the project.

Sources within the MACC said the investigating team is now looking through documents to focus on how the process was carried out to appoint the companies to conduct the study.

The sources added that the Penang government had allegedly violated the set review guidelines when awarding the feasibility study to the companies involved.

“The value paid for the study via two land swaps was found to be much higher than the minimum requirement of the Public Works Department.

“The investigating team is also studying the documents in a probe into allegations that the state government allowed a Penang tunnel special purpose vehicle (SPV) to pre-sell state land rights worth RM3bil despite a four-year delay in the start of the construction of roads,” they said.

MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said his officers would carry out the investigation fairly, but declined to reveal if there was new evidence found.

“Let us carry out our probe to see if there are elements of corruption and abuse of power as alleged,” he said.

Azam said the MACC also recorded statements from 11 witnesses yesterday and went to several premises in Penang and Kuala Lumpur to collect more documents.

The Penang undersea tunnel project has turned controversial, with MACC investigators probing into the swapping of two plots of land in Bandar Tanjong Pinang made as payment for the three highways’ feasibility study, designs and environmental impact assessment.

Two high-ranking bosses of development and construction companies were remanded on Wednesday in connection with the case.

The day before, MACC raided seven state government agencies and three property development and construction firms.

On Thursday, MACC raided 12 more locations in Penang and Kuala Lumpur and questioned 12 people.

Meanwhile, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has called on MACC to act on press reports that gave updates on the investigation quoting MACC sources, whom he claimed had leaked confidential information about the probe.

“The MACC investigation into the tunnel and highways is supposed to be confidential and given statutory protection to prevent the investigation from being prejudiced,” he said.

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Courts Crime , MACC