PETALING JAYA: The Penang government is completely missing the point when it claims that there is nothing wrong in having a fashion company as a shareholder in the special purpose vehicle (SPV) firm for the massive RM6.3bil Penang undersea tunnel, says MCA.
“The fact is that the fashion company has reported losses in each of the past three financial quarters.
“Their last financial statement submitted to Bursa Malaysia on Nov 29, 2017, showed the company had cash balances of RM1.7mil and short-term loans of RM16.5mil.
“The main point is that the Penang government promised the people of Penang in March 2013 when the project was awarded that the SPV company had strong financial backing of RM4.6bil and had deep experience in construction,” said Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong in a statement yesterday.
Five years on, Dr Wee said, the RM305mil feasibility report for the project promised by the Penang government had yet to materialise.
“The start of construction for any component of the project is delayed at least four years,” he added.
According to checks done by the party, fashion company Vertice Bhd (formerly Voir Holdings Bhd) held the most shares, while 39% of the shares of the SPV are held by nominees.
The state government announced in early 2013 that stakes in the SPV would go to two giant China construction firms, supported with RM4.6 billion in paid-up capital.
But the two China companies are no longer shareholders of the SPV.
On Aug 31 last year, it was reported that Vertice Bhd was looking to diversify into construction by purchasing a 13.21% equity interest in Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, the company that won the Penang undersea tunnel project contract.
Dr Wee, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, questioned whether the new shareholders have the same financial clout and technical ability as the two initially-promised China construction firms.
“The crux of the matter is whether the Penang government has done a bait and switch? What was promised was not what has been delivered,” he said.
The undersea tunnel is currently being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.