Tunnel project: Guan Eng misrepresented SPV’s paid-up capital, claims Wee

Wee-Ka-Siong_lim-guan-eng2GEORGE TOWN: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Wee Ka Siong has accused Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng of misrepresenting the paid-up capital (PUC) of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up for the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three main roads project.

He said in his latest video on Facebook that he had repeatedly heard that the PUC for the joint venture consortium awarded the project was RM4.5492 billion.

However, with the disclosure of the project agreement, it had come to light that the PUC was “a far cry from RM4.5 billion”, he said.

Wee, the MCA deputy president, said he had raised the matter on March 4, 2013, when the Penang state secretary announced that the SPV had a PUC of RM4.5 billion.

The other occasions in which Lim maintained that the SPV’s PUC was RM4.5 billion was on March 1, 2013, on Buletin Mutiara’s front page headline and its second page write up; on March 7 when Lim in a press conference criticised Barisan Nasional as being ignorant and said Consortium Zenith BUCG (now renamed Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd), which won the tender, was a joint venture of four companies that included CRCC.

“Interestingly on March 9, 2013, Lim, in his Sin Chew Daily column, had said there were five companies in the consortium with a total PUC of RM4.5 billion, and that it would not pose any problem to carry out a project to the tune of RM6.3 billion.

“Again, on March 21, 2013, Lim responded publicly to queries from the Consumer Association of Penang, repeating that the consortium’s PUC stood at RM4.5 billion. This was again repeated in an interview with an online portal on April 11, 2013.

“We have not taken in other public talks. Only from documented records, Lim had at least four times mentioned the consortium’s PUC of RM4.5 billion.”

Wee claimed Lim also did not state that the role of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) in the consortium was only as a building contractor.

“Even when the agreement was officially signed (in October 2013), Lim never clearly stated CRCC’s exact role,” he said.

Wee noted that it had now come to light that the consortium consisted of only four entities, and CRCC was conspicuously absent.

“Treating a contractor purely engaged for building construction as a party in the consortium or SPV is clearly an intentional misrepresentation,” he said.

Wee said that in spite of BN’s persistent queries, Lim refused to own up to the mistake he committed.

“CM Guan Eng, the evidence is crystal clear. Admit your own mistakes and do not blame others and find excuses, please,” he said in concluding his video.

Wee and Lim have been engaged in a back and forth over the undersea tunnel and three main roads projects, mostly centred on the issues of shareholding and the SPV’s PUC.

The infrastructure project came under renewed scrutiny by the BN following a fresh probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect George Town’s Pangkor Road and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth. It is scheduled to begin in 2023.

The “three main roads” (formerly three paired roads) stretch from Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (5.7km), Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang (10.53km), and Jalan Pangkor-Gurney Drive junction to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (4.1km).

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