GEORGE TOWN: The DAP-led Penang government must officially explain in detail if the state government is proposing to build an undersea tunnel or a third Penang bridge, says Penang MCA.
Its Youth chief Lim Swee Bok also questioned the exact amount of land that the state government had given to the construction consortium in exchange for the project.
Lim said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had earlier stated that the state government has given land worth RM208mil to the construction consortium as fees for a feasibility study report and design of the proposed three highways.
“The said project has not even started eight years after the contract was signed in 2013, but the state government has handed over RM208mil worth of land to the construction consortium,” he said at a press conference at Penang MCA headquarters at Jalan Transfer, George Town on Tuesday (Sept 28).
Lim also listed out several doubts and requests to the state government and pushed for a clear explanation.
“Generally, the fees for a feasibility study and report usually would not exceed 1.5% of the project cost and the completion period for such a report would not exceed six months.
“In this case, however, the feasibility report for the undersea tunnel and three highways was priced at RM305mil, which is as high as 4.8% of the project value of RM6.3bil.
“According to the agreement, the state government will swap 44.5ha of land for the construction cost of the undersea tunnel and three highways. If the undersea tunnel is to be replaced by the third bridge, which may cost only half the construction value, will the state government maintain its stand to give the 44.5ha of land to the construction consortium?
“The construction cost of the three highways is RM1.99bil, then the feasibility cost of RM208mil accounts for 10% of the project cost, which is nearly 10 times higher than the norm. Can the state government justify this?” he asked.
On Saturday (Sept 25), The Star front-paged a report about ECK Development group saying that it was more viable to build a bridge because it is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than the undersea tunnel.
The group recently acquired a majority stake in Consortium Zenith Construction, which is the special purpose vehicle to undertake the undersea tunnel project.
It is understood that the bridge alternative will cost about RM3bil, half the cost of the RM6.3bil undersea tunnel.
Lim also asked if the Penang government had urged the construction consortium to submit the feasibility report throughout the last eight years.
“Where is the contractual timeline? On the contrary, the state government is only keen on reclamation in order to hand over the reclaimed land to the construction consortium and even approved the land development proposal swiftly,” he said.
Lim added that it was confusing that the consortium made the announcement instead of the state government.
Also present were Penang MCA liaison committee secretary Yeoh Chin Kah, MCA Youth national deputy organising secretary Tan Yang Pang and Penang MCA spokeman Tang Heap Seng.
On Monday (Sept 28), Chow explained that the Penang government has not ruled out building an elevated bridge as the third link for the state.
However, any consideration will only be made after an in-depth study has been carried out, says the Chief Minister.
He said any consideration would only be made once the feasibility study on the undersea tunnel has been completed and officially presented to the government.
“As for now, the feasibility study being conducted by Consortium Zenith Construction (CZC) is only for the undersea tunnel and not for the proposed bridge,” he said in a statement Monday.
Chow said CZC has completed the feasibility study for the undersea tunnel project and it would be presented at the state executive council meeting after receiving reviews and feedback from all the relevant federal and state technical agencies.