Not a single sen paid yet for undersea tunnel, Penang CM reiterates

The undersea tunnel and related road projects have been planned to ease traffic congestion on Penang island. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government today reiterated that it has not paid a single sen in cash or kind for the undersea tunnel project feasibility study, following fresh scrutiny by detractors after a renewed graft probe.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the only payment in kind was made for the feasibility study for the three paired roads, part of the undersea tunnel-and-roads project.

He said the payment in kind was in the form of an earlier land swap at Seri Tanjung Pinang. The land swap being referred to is a 1.5ha state land alienated to Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, worth RM305 million.

He said the study for the tunnel project was different from that for the earlier three-roads project.

“When they finish completing the feasibility study of the tunnel, we will pay them. But as for now, what is there to be paid? They have yet to finish the study. This is in the agreement.

“But as for the roads study, as you all know, the payment in kind has been made through the land swap earlier on. We have said this many times before,” he told reporters in Komtar today.

Chow was responding to a question as to whether any money had been paid for the undersea tunnel-and-roads project.

He said the feasibility study for the undersea tunnel was expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year.

The study’s progress was at 98% as of last August. Chow had said the progress had fluctuated due to new checks by engineers. He had said the progression of the study could “roll back” every now and then whenever it was being inspected by the independent checking engineers.

One of three roads’ projects began last November. It is a 5.7km bypass road from Bandar Baru Air Itam to the coastal expressway on the east side of the island, costing RM851 million. It will take three years to complete.

The other two roads are the Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang bypass (10.53km), and Jalan Pangkor-Gurney Drive junction to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass (4.1km).

The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect Pulau Tikus’ Pangkor Road on the island and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth. If the feasibility study is positive, construction is scheduled to begin in 2023.

Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.