Penang CM says yet to sign agreement with undersea tunnel project contractor

Chow said works on the three paired roads project are expected to start on September 1 after the agreement is finalised and signed. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Chow said works on the three paired roads project are expected to start on September 1 after the agreement is finalised and signed. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, May 3 — The Penang state government has yet to sign an agreement with the project delivery partner of the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three paired road projects, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (DAP - Padang Kota) told the legislative assembly today.

He said the project delivery partner, Consortium Zenith, has obtained Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approvals for the three paired roads component of the overall project so works on the roads could start soon.

“Even with EIA approval, there is no official agreement between the project delivery partner and the state government, so construction works can’t start yet,” he said when replying to a question here.

He added that works on the roads are expected to start on September 1 after the agreement is finalised and signed.

Chow said Consortium Zenith conducted preliminary works on the project over the past five years such as conducting feasibility studies and finalising technical designs for the three paired roads.

He said a public display was held prior to the approval of the EIA for the three paired roads so a similar process will be held before the EIA for the undersea tunnel is submitted for approval.

He said the feasibility study for the undersea tunnel is yet to be finalised.

“The report was presented to the technical consultant, HSSI Sdn Bhd, for confirmation and review,” he said.

He said the technical consultant has given its feedback on the draft report to Consortium Zenith last month for amendments before it is finalised and approved by the state government.

He stressed that the state did not pay any sum to Consortium Zenith for the undersea tunnel feasibility report.

“Payments will only be made after the feasibility report is validated by the technical consultant and presented to the state government for approval,” he said.

He was replying to an oral question by Mohd Yusni Mat Piah (PAS - Penaga) regarding the status of the undersea tunnel project, the payment made by the state government for it and whether it was true the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) is investigating the project.

Chow said the MACC started investigations into the project in the first quarter of 2018.

He reiterated that the MACC had issued a letter to Consortium Zenith to state that there were no charges against the company or its chairman.

“We want to stress that if any party is found guilty in court of any wrongdoings, the state government will take stern action against them,” he said.

As for whether this would affect the implementation of the project, Chow said it will depend on a decision by the state executive council.

“For now, the project must go on,” he said.