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Rahman Questions Penang Again On Undersea Tunnel Project

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PETALING JAYA - Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan has fired a salvo of questions at the Penang state government over the undersea tunnel project.

In a Facebook post, he said that in his original query, he did not ask if the entire RM6.34bil project was awarded based on open tender.

“I specifically asked if the three studies costing RM305mil were awarded based on an open tender,” said Abdul Rahman, who is Barisan Nasional strategic communications director.

In the Bursa Malaysia announcement on Astral Supreme Bhd dated 15 Aug, 2013, it was stated that the feasibility study and detailed design costing RM270mil was awarded by Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) to a joint venture between its majority shareholder Zenith Construction and public-listed Astral Supreme Bhd.

Astral Supreme’s services were terminated one year later, and it was stated that Astral was “unable to find consultants who could undertake the project”.

“The Penang government also does not seem to have addressed my concern that the company awarded to construct the project was also responsible for doing the studies to determine whether its own project was feasible or environmentally acceptable. Is this the case and is this a conflict of interest?” he added.

He also questioned why the feasibility study for the three related roads was worth RM31mil, while that of the undersea tunnel was worth RM20mil.

“The total of RM51mil for the feasibility study alone and RM305mil for all three studies are still expensive,” he said, adding that the state government should consider engaging the Works Ministry to help reduce costs.

Abdul Rahman pointed out that the Penang government had said CZBUCG was allowed to collect toll for 30 years because it could not afford the maintenance of the undersea tunnel, and that the toll would be set at the same rate as the second Penang bridge.

This, he said, was unacceptable because the tunnel operator did not need to recover its construction cost as the Penang government was paying for it.

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