‘Why waste resources now when undersea tunnel only starts in 2023?’

The contractor for Penang’s undersea tunnel project has refuted Works Minister Fadillah Yusof’s statement that he has yet to receive any report on the matter from the state government.

Consortium Zenith Group Construction Sdn Bhd chairperson Zarul Ahmad said his firm is currently focusing all its resources on the main highway projects in the state.

These are Lebuhraya Air Itam-Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu and north coast paired roads which will link Tanjung Bungah with Teluk Bahang.

“Our firm is still waiting for the Environmental Impact Assessment approval from the Department of Environment,” Zarul said at a press conference in Komtar today with state executive councillor Lim Hock Seng.

“After the two highway projects have started, we will then begin to focus our attention on completing the feasibility studies for the undersea tunnel,” he added.

“Why waste our resources on a project which will only start later?”

Zarul said the tunnel project is expected to only begin in 2023 and it would take four years to complete.

“I don’t see why I have to hurry up the feasibility study as it does not benefit me at all at this moment,” Zarul stressed, adding that the study is currently 92.9 percent done.

Other than Hock Seng, who oversees the public works, utilities and transport portfolio, accompanying Zarul at the press conference were the Consortium’s president Azmi Khalid, and Penang Transport Master Plan’s Special Purpose Vehicle chief engineer Ang Aing Thye.

Fadillah ‘very eager and curious’

Zarul was responding to Fadillah who was quoted in The Star yesterday as saying that he has yet to receive “a single page” of the tunnel reports promised by the Penang government 18 months ago.

Fadillah (photo) also said he was “very eager and curious” to see the reports.

He added that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had written to him in April “asking for the tunnel be changed to a bridge”.

Responding to that, Zarul said as far as he was concerned, the project remains a tunnel, and not a bridge as stated by Fadillah.

Hock Seng said Penang had wanted “an approval in principle” for the third bridge from the Works Ministry before submitting the feasibility studies and other reports.

Guan Eng earlier said that the Penang government decided to build a tunnel as the federal government in Putrajaya would not approve a toll-free third bridge.

No cash, only land swap

Meanwhile, Zarul reminded the Works Ministry that Consortium Zenith was awarded the project based on an open tender as it offered the lowest cost for the construction of the tunnel, which is to link the island with Butterworth on the mainland.

He emphasised that the method of payment for the project is not “cash but by way of land swap”, while all costs so far have been undertaken by the consortium.

“For your information, no payment has been made by the Penang government for the tunnel project as the feasibility study for the project has not been completed yet,” Zarul said.

“Any statements made by various quarters contrary to these facts are untrue, and the consortium has instructed our lawyers to review these remarks and take the appropriate action,” he warned.

 

Artikel disiar pada October 11, 2017 - 2:44 pm oleh Susan Loo

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