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The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki did not rule out that investigators may have found several new leads in their probe into the proposed Penang undersea tunnel project.

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has received several new leads in its probe of the proposed Penang undersea tunnel project.

Sources close to the investigation said they could not reveal the information as they fear it will jeopardise their investigation.

The source however said their investigation was centred mainly on the studies conducted for the mega infrastructure project and not on its implementation or even the tender awarding process to the appointed companies.

"We do not dispute the process. What we are looking at is whether there exists any corporate interest during the award of the project's feasibility studies," the source added.

The source said the payment for the feasibility studies was done via land swap, and as such, investigators are trying to determine the reason for such payment method.

"Is the company appointed to carry out the feasibility studies really intended to conduct the studies or merely using it as a reason to obtain the two parcels of land?" the source further added.

Meanwhile, another source dismissed allegation which linked their investigation to wanting to halt the controversial project.

"Again, this is only on the studies. We never said investigations cannot proceed but our probe is into the RM305 million payment for the studies, which many believe is rather excessive.

"We also suspect that there may be interested parties who had received a significant amount of money from the implementation of the studies," the source said, adding that they were trying to ascertain the money trail.

The source however declined to divulge the amount of money involved.

The source also did not discount the possibility of misappropriation in one of the processes in the implementation of the tunnel project.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki, when contacted, did not rule out that investigators may have found several new leads in their probe but declined to comment any further.

"Let us carry out our investigation thoroughly. We are still in the process of recording statements from vital witnesses, whom we believe can assist in our probe," he added.

To date, the MACC has raided 41 locations including government agencies and consultant companies in Penang and the Klang Valley.

The graft buster has also recorded statements from 70 witnesses.

So far, only two company officials, with the Datuk title, have been arrested.

The tunnel project had raised numerous controversies in recent months, especially on the high cost of the RM305 million feasibility studies as well as the 21-month delay in completing it.

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