PETALING JAYA: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has accused Barisan Nasional (BN) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Wee Ka Siong of launching a concerted campaign to undermine and sabotage the state government’s efforts to alleviate traffic congestion.
He alleged that federal agencies had changed their rules which caused delays to infrastructural works including a proposed undersea tunnel and three main roads.
The “unduly long” Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations of the tunnel project since 2016 had also caused further delay and harassed government staff by requiring unnecessary and repetitive checks, he said.
“With the latest attack by BN to sabotage the entire project, doubts have been expressed about the commitment of all parties involved and whether the project is still viable,” he added in a statement today.
The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect George Town’s Pangkor Road and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2023.
To date, MACC has taken statements from more than 100 people in its probe of the case. Five people were arrested and released on bail.
During the investigation, MACC officials raided the offices of four state government agencies – the Penang Public Works Department, Penang State Secretary’s office, Penang Office of Lands and Mines and Penang Valuation and Property Services Department – and three property development and construction companies – Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, 555 Capital Sdn Bhd and Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd’s Penang office.
Lim said the Penang government had been subjected to public scrutiny at a level never before witnessed in Malaysia.
He said the state had awarded the tunnel project in an open tender, in contrast to the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project undertaken by the federal government which was directly awarded to a China-based company.
However, he said, only projects conducted by the Penang government appeared to be problematic, not the BN projects that had no open tender.
“If the Penang state government had known that MACC would only investigate projects conducted under open tenders and not under direct tender, then perhaps we should have done the project under direct tender to avoid any harassment,” he said.
Referring to Wee’s challenge to debate the tunnel project, Lim dismissed the MCA deputy president as unqualified to take him on.
He said since he was the leader of DAP, only MCA president Liow Tiong Lai should challenge him to a public debate.
“Wee conveniently forgets he is still not the MCA president and is No.2 in a party that won seven parliamentary seats in the last general elections. This is in contrast to me being the top leader of DAP which won 38 parliamentary seats.
“Even ignoring the disparity in seats won between MCA and DAP, any challenge should come from (Liow), not the deputy president Wee Ka Siong.”