Penang undersea tunnel contractor to sue Parti Cinta Malaysia leader for defamation

Zarul said allegations by Huan on the project and CZBUGG shareholders had hurt investor confidence in the company. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Zarul said allegations by Huan on the project and CZBUGG shareholders had hurt investor confidence in the company. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, June 8 — Crying defamation, Consortium Zenith BUCG (CZBUCG) chairman Datuk Zarul Zulkifli will be taking Datuk Huan Cheng Guan to court over the politician’s allegations concerning the Penang undersea tunnel and three paired roads project.

Zarul said the allegations by the former Gerakan vice-president-turned-Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) leader on the project and CZBUGG shareholders had hurt investor confidence in the company.

"I've been patient all this while when they kept raising issues on the project since 2012. I'm really fed up and I think it's time to react," he told a press conference today.

"If they stop my business, my funders will run away and I will get into trouble for breach of contract with the state government for being unable to complete the project we were awarded.

"Under these circumstances I have no choice but to take legal action, I can't let them continue to hammer me incessantly," he added.

Zarul said his lawyers are preparing the papers to submit to court as soon as possible.

Huan, who is now PCM vice-president, filed yet another report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday raising questions over CZBUCG’s alleged shareholder change last month compared to March 2012.

He claimed China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd used to be a shareholder of CZBUCG but as the record at the Companies Commission of Malaysia showed that it was no longer a shareholder of CZBUCG.

Last week, Huan also lodged a MACC report regarding the feasibility costs of the undersea tunnel project, alleging that RM305 million was too high for the study.

Zarul stressed that China Railway was never a shareholder of CZBUCG but that his company had only entered into a joint venture agreement with China Railway in January 2013.

"Zenith Construction has a binding agreement with China Railway, that's why when we calculate paid up capital, it was inclusive of China Railway's paid up capital and they are with me today, they will be with me forever because I'm also a director of China Railway," he said.

Now that Huan had lodged reports with MACC, Zarul said if MACC officers were to go to his office, the media will report CZBUCG as being raided by the MACC.

"We are not worried about being investigated because we won the project under open tender and we have nothing to hide but a visit by MACC will damage our reputation," he said.

He also warned those organising a public debate on the project this Saturday to be very careful with what they say.

"We will not hesitate to sue if they slander us," he said.

On the costs of the feasibility study, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng pointed out that the state government has explained numerous times that the feasibility study alone costs RM20 million, not RM305 million.

"Our political opponents have continued to try to sabotage the undersea tunnel and three paired roads project despite our explanations," he said.

Lim reiterated the point that CZBUCG was awarded the RM6.3 billion project through an open tender exercise.

"How could a state government be investigated for having open tender exercises," he asked.

The Penang state government has been heavily criticised and repeatedly questioned over the undersea tunnel project in recent months by Barisan Nasional leaders and non-governmental organisations. The feasibility study on the project is still ongoing.

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