Financial transparency in Penang undersea tunnel project still lacking, says Wee

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 03 Mar 2018

PETALING JAYA: MCA has raised concerns about the financial transparency of the RM6.34bil Penang undersea tunnel project following the arrests of two individuals over their alleged roles to help close the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) ongoing investigation into the project.

Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said recent statements from their Penang government seemed to suggest that it is now trying to distance itself from the tunnel SPV.

"Malaysians have been rocked with recent news report that the Penang tunnel SPV had paid RM22mil in cash in a failed attempt to stop the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations into the mega Penang tunnel and three roads project.

"You cannot blame Malaysians for wondering how much was the actual value of the possible corruption and abuse of power if such a high sum was paid in desperation to stop any investigations," said Dr Wee, who is MCA deputy president, in a statement on Saturday.

He said that on top of RM220mil already paid by them, the Penang Government had also increased the value of the Penang Tunnel SPV's luxury condominium project to a Gross Development value of RM800mil by giving super-quick approval as well as increasing the development density from 30 units to 155 units.

"The Chief Minister himself was also present during the launch of the SPV's 2nd property project worth RM15bil to be built on land given by the Penang State Government and was also present when the SPV signed off the purchase rights of RM2.83bil worth of Penang state land to a listed company.

"The Penang Government had also announced that they will be spending as much as RM9bil in projects such as the Gurney Wharf, the new 8 lane road along Gurney drive and the Pan-Island Link (PIL) that seems to make the Tunnel SPV's RM15bil property project to be the main beneficiary.

"Let's not also forget that the Penang government also agreed to give a 30- year toll concession to the tunnel SPV despite fully paying for the construction cost in what can only be described as the most lop-sided toll concession in world history, a move that can add as much as RM4bil in additional profits to the SPV," said Dr Wee.

He added that this is before the loss arising from state land value appreciation due to the multiple delays of the project that he estimated to be at least another RM2.2bil.

On Friday (March 2), a businessman with a "Datuk" title was arrested for allegedly receiving RM3mil to help close the probe into the RM6.34bil Penang undersea tunnel project.

The Datuk is the second person to be arrested this week for offering to "settle" the probe.

On Tuesday (Feb 27), a 37-year-old "Datuk Seri" businessman was arrested for allegedly receiving RM19mil to do so.
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