KUALA LUMPUR - Construction giant China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd (CRCC) did not ink any contract directly with the Penang government for the undersea tunnel and the three main roads mega project, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
The Transport Minister said CRCC top leaders confirmed this with him during his visit to China recently.
Liow said the construction giant had never given approval nor did it know why the state government considered CRCC as shareholders of the special purpose vehicle (SPV) Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.
“CRCC only signed a contract with the SPV, and it was never part of the SPV. The top leader in CRCC confirmed that the company was never a shareholder of the SPV and the SPV’s parent company Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.
Liow met the CRCC officials when he attended the 1st Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Civil Aviation in China where he held a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing.
The top CRCC officials, he added, were eager to stress certain points to him as they have been informed about the recent controversy regarding the mega project.
“CRCC had only signed an Acknowledgement of Commitment as an appendix to the preliminary agreement of the undersea tunnel and the three main roads, that CRCC will deliver the project should they be awarded any portion of the project by the SPV,” said Liow.
He called on the Penang government to answer the many questions raised by MCA Deputy President Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
Liow said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng did not dare respond to Dr Wee even though the former had said the process was conducted through open tender and was transparent.
“Instead of responding, Lim criticised Dr Wee in an attempt to divert attention and we are disappointed to see him use these tactics.
“I want to make it clear that we are not sabotaging the project. We know this will benefit the people but when there are problems when it comes to awarding the contract and a high consultant fee of around 31% of the contract value, this worries the people,” he said.
“Dr Wee has a PhD in transportation planning and he has asked specific questions where the state government has to answer.
“Don’t avoid and don’t criticise. We don’t want fights in the newspapers. We want answers for the Penangites,” said Liow.
Meanwhile, in quoting a report by a news portal that the Penang government had “mistakenly” named CRCC as part of the SPV, Barisan Nasional strategic communications deputy director Datuk Eric See-To said the consequence of this “mistake” was that the Penang government had essentially awarded a RM6.3bil project to a then “financially distressed” company that was only 82 days old.