MACC cleared undersea tunnel company and boss, says Penang CM

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow watches a UBTECH humanoid robot demonstration at his office in Komtar today.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says the state government will continue with the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three roads project as those involved in building it have been cleared by anti-graft officials.

He was responding to the call by the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) for the project to be shelved pending a probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

He said MACC had sent two letters on Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (Zenith) and Zenith’s senior executive director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, clearing them of any impropriety.

He added that the ongoing court case is not against Zarul or the company for corruption, only against an individual who conned Zarul to obtain “large sums of money”.

The case involves businessman G Gnanaraja, who was accused under Section 420 of the Penal Code of cheating Zarul of RM19 million by deceiving him into believing Gnanaraja could help close money laundering investigations against him by MACC.

“MACC sent two letters (saying) that no action will be taken by them after they have conducted their investigation.

“With that, the question does not arise,” he said on the proposal to suspend the tunnel and roads project.

“It is a closed matter, as far as we are concerned,” he added in a press conference at Komtar here today.

Yesterday, C4 urged Penang to put the undersea tunnel and roads project on hold amid concerns over “controversies and mysteries” surrounding the project.

It also urged MACC to speed up its investigation to shed light on “all possible malfeasance” involving the project and its contractor.

Chow said Zarul’s case was “remote and not related” to the Penang government, adding that it does not involve how the government tender was given out or awarded.

“It is just one person who took advantage of the situation to obtain large sums of money. It is a remote matter and not related to the state government.

“We are honouring our agreement for works to proceed as determined by the government, especially on one of the three roads.”

The three main roads (formerly three paired roads) will go from 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).

Work on the Air Itam to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway will begin on Aug 31.

The 7.2km undersea tunnel, meanwhile, will connect George Town’s Pangkor Road and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2023.