Friday, March 29, 2013


GEORGE TOWN:  The Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth movement has urged Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to clarify the hike in the cost of the mega tunnel project to RM6.3 billion from RM4.08 billion.
Its information chief, H'ng Khoon Leng, said this was important because the cost of a mega project using open tender should be cheaper, instead of going up by RM2.25 billion.
"We are shocked by the increase and want the chief minister to explain. The cost of RM4.08 billion was obtained from the state government portal in September 2011. How could the increase occur?," he asked reporters here today.
He said that in 2011, the state government had announced the total cost of the project encompassing the tunnel at RM1.95 billion; highway to connect Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Highway to Gurney Drive (RM630 million); highway to connect Farlim to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Highway (RM920 million) and the construction of a road from Tanjung Bungah to Batu Feringgi (RM580 million).    
"Recently, however, Lim said the effectiveness of the open tender enabled the cost of the project to be reduced from RM8 billion to RM6.3 billion, which is much higher than the announcement in 2011," he said.
At the same media conference, state Umno Youth chief Shaik Hussein Mydin urged Lim to clarify the state government's intention to impose toll on users of the tunnel.
"We cannot accept Lim's excuse that the toll was to avoid legal action by the management of the Second Penang Bridge, if the use of the tunnel is free," he said.
In another development, Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) president SM Mohamed Idris has asked whether the state government had carried out a cost benefit and feasibility study before implementing the mega project.     He said, CAP was concerned if the construction of the tunnel would worsen the traffic congestion because the volume of vehicles increased by 10 per cent annually.
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