15 Jul Penang govt committed to PTMP despite MACC scrutiny
EORGE TOWN: Penang remains committed to seeing through the proposed RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan despite its central piece – the undersea tunnel – coming under scrutiny by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pix) told a press conference that it is business as usual for the mega transport infrastructure project with the creation of a state government-linked company (GLC), the corporatisation of Syarikat Penang Infrastructure Corporation Sdn Bhd, to oversee the progress of the project.
The GLC will liaise with two project delivery partners, SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd for the predominantly southern reclamation and Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd for the undersea tunnel.
Chow said the company will also ensure that that the work schedule and bureaucratic aspects are handled efficiently.
The company will also study the financial architecture plan, which SRS is entrusted to submit by this month.
“We have yet to receive any feedback from the MACC about their investigation. We will continue with the project and we want investors to realise that they should look at the project for its viability more than anything else.”
Chow said the MACC investigations would not hinder the state from carrying out its obligation to ensure that the master plan is completed.
He dismissed claims by the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) that the proposal to issue state bonds to guarantee financing from a consortium of banks was unconstitutional.
“It was the banks who proposed it and they said they were fine with the state acting as guarantor. It was the banks who were pursuing it.”
He clarified that the only payout that the state executed for the tunnel project was the payment for a feasible study on the three-paired highways linking the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway with Air Itam, Teluk Bahang and Gurney Drive.
Zenith won the bid to deliver the tunnel and the three highways.
“The only payment accorded was for the three highways through the surrender of a reclaimed land parcel to Zenith. Noother payments were involved,“ he said.
Payment for the tunnel has yet to be made as the feasible study was not completed yet.
On a status update, Chow said he expects this year to be about seeking approvals from the federal side and work to commence early next year.
He said most of the studies have been approved, from the Environment Impact Assessment to the Hydraulic to Social Impact, Fishery and Traffic Impact, as well as the Marine Traffic.
The MACC is also in the midst of completing its latest investigation into the controversial undersea tunnel which links Gurney Drive with Bagan Ajam.
Other major components of the master plan include a Light Rail System and two Pan Island Link highways, around the island.