Tunnel project: Penang govt spewing half-truths, says Eric See-To
The BN strategic communications deputy director says Penang government has been acting 'like a drowning person grasping at straws and has resorted to very strange explanations and outright lies to defend its mega-billion scandals'.
Eric SeeGEORGE TOWN: Barisan Nasional today called out the Penang governmentâs inconsistencies in their defence of the RM6.3 billion tunnel-roads project.
BN strategic communications deputy director Eric See-To listed three examples of how the state has started to resort to âhalf-truthsâ and âoutright liesâ in standing up against the continued exposure of âirregularitiesâ in the project.
See-To said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had claimed that 44.5ha of land had not been t ransferred to Consortium Zenith Construction, with no luxury condominiums and no high-density luxury condominiums approved for it â" a point Lim had made in his statement yesterday.
âYes, the 44.5ha of land, which would have been worth RM6.34 billion, has not been transferred. But what Guan Eng failed to mention is that 2.29ha of land has already been transferred.
âThis was confirmed by state executive councillor Lim Hock Seng, who said that only RM208 million had been paid, through land alienation, to the consortium, at Tanjung Pinang.
âGuan Eng confirmed this himself, saying that âwe only swapped two pieces of land with a development value of RM1,300 per square feet, for 2.29ha of landâ.
âOut of this 2.29ha of land, 1.5ha was indeed approved for high-density luxury condominiums for the City of Dreams project,â See-To said in a statement today.
See-To also singled out Guan Engâs criticism of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commissio n (MACC) for investigating his deputy, Prof P Ramasamy in the tunnel probe.
Guan Eng had yesterday said he found it strange that Ramasamy was called in to be questioned by the MACC, when he was not involved in the project at all, and that his portfolio was totally unrelated.
Ramasamy had yesterday said himself he did not understand why he had to have his statement recorded by the anti-graft body when he was not really involved in the project.
However, See-To pointed out that Ramasamy had issued statements in defence of the tunnel on five occasions, between Jan 25 and Feb 13.
âRamasamy has also claimed that Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai was trying to sabotage the project, as Liow was late in replying to a letter from him, asking to acquire land for the project.
âAnd yet, Ramasamy and Guan Eng dare to claim the former was not involved in the project at all?â
See-To cited a third example, where the state government had claimed that the transport ministry refused to give up a piece of land to make way for the three main roads project.
See-To said Ramasamy had stated that the piece of land in Jelutong was owned by the ministry and that it had refused to budge despite many attempts to hold talks on compensation.
âHowever, this is untrue. The Penang government only received conditional environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval on Nov 7 last year. The state itself also said that the construction of the road was scheduled to start in June this year.
âAnd Ramasamy himself said he only wrote to the transport minister on Dec 15, 2017 and received a reply on Feb 5, 2018 to set up the meeting.
âIs a reply that is a month and a half late, after including the end-of-year holiday season, considered as the transport minister sabotaging the project?â
See-To said over the past month, the Penang government had been increasingly acting âlike a drowning person grasping at straws a nd has resorted to very strange explanations and outright lies to defend its mega-billion scandalsâ.
The infrastructure project came under renewed scrutiny by the BN following a fresh probe by the MACC and arrests.
Since then, the Penang government and BN have revived the issue, which was a hotly debated topic in Penang in 2013 and 2014.
The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect George Townâs Pangkor Road with Bagan Ajam in Butterworth. It is scheduled to begin in 2023.
The âthree main roadsâ stretch 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).
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Source: Google News