Liow dismisses sabotage claims
Liow: We are not sabotaging the project and we do not want to squabble over the issue through the press. Photo by Shahrin Yahya.-A +A
KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 5): Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has dismissed claims by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng that Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders in Penang were trying to sabotage the state's proposed RM6.3 billion project to build three expressways and an undersea tunnel linking Penang island to the mainland.
"We are not sabotaging the project and we do not want to squabble over the issue through the press. I hope the parties involved, especially Lim Guan Eng, will answer the questions that have been raised so as to address the public's woes," Liow , who is MCA president, told a press conference after the opening of the Malaysia-China SMEs Business Matching Conference 2018 today.
"Our stance is clear (that) infrastructure developments do benefit the people. But if the consultant fee is as high as 31% of the total contract value, then this is something quite worrying.
Liow also urged Lim to live up to his "accountable and transparent" leadership by providing clarity on the issue. "The people are eager to know what happened and whether this is just (a) huge scam. If Lim is a responsible leader, he should be addressing those questions that have been raised by (MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr) Wee Ka Siong," said Liow.
Wee has been calling on the DAP-led Penang government to address the issues involving the undersea tunnel project in videos uploaded in two parts to MCA's YouTube channel recently. These included the paid-up capital of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) and how two Chinese construction giants have "disappeared" from the SPV shareholding. Wee also touched on the state government's "agreement" with China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) and Penang's insistence that no money was paid for the project.
Liow said CRCC has reiterated that it is not shareholder of the SPV set up for the Penang undersea tunnel project.
"CRCC confirmed it was never a shareholder in the SPV (Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd) set up for the project nor was it ever been contracted directly by the Penang government to build the Penang undersea tunnel and three major roads," he added.
This was relayed to Liow after he met with top management of CRCC after the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Civil Aviation and bilateral meeting with China's transport minister in Beijing recently.
Liow said CRCC had only signed an "acknowledgement of commitment" as an appendix to the preliminary agreement of the Penang mega project, that CRCC will deliver the project should they be awarded any portion of the project by the SPV.
Meanwhile, Liow said the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail (HSR) project, which is currently open for tender, has received interests from many countries, among which are China and Japan.
Liow declined to disclose the number of tenders received so far, but that the tendering process will close on June 29.
"We definitely welcome more (companies) to participate in this open tender. By the end of this year, we should know the results of this international tender," he said.
The HSR project is expected to cut travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes.Source: Google News