Gerakan acting Youth chief Jason Loo. Pix by Danial Saad

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has to explain why it has failed to penalise Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd for the delay in completing the feasibility study report on the proposed undersea tunnel project.

State Gerakan acting Youth chief Jason Loo said the state government owed the people an answer on the leniency shown towards the company despite the Penang Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report which clearly stated that the study was supposed to be completed in April 2016.

Loo also demanded an explanation from the state government on the preferential treatment given to a property developer working with Consortium Zenith to develop state land given to the latter for the completion of techical reports for the three paired road projects.

He said the Penang Island City Council had granted the property developer planning permission approval on March 17, 2015, exactly a month after the state government gave Consortium Zenith a plot of land in Bandar Seri Tanjung Pinang.

"This is a super fast track approval...it was given lightning quick approval up even though it took 52 months for Consortium Zenith to do the undersea tunnel feasibility study report, which is still pending until today.

"The interest of Penangites is at stake and the people must be told why the council approved the controversial project at such a speed?”

Loo said Gerakan would expose more scandalous issues on the project if the state failed to come up with an explanation on the questions which had been raised within 24 hours.

Loo said all this goes to show that the company was more interested in building property rather than constructing the undersea tunnel or complete the required studies.

"This is no laughing matter as the state government had been promoting the undersea tunnel as a very important project for Penang," he said.

Last October, Consortium Zenith's senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli had said that the company saw no urgency to present its feasibility study on the proposed undersea tunnel connecting Penang island to the mainland as the project would only kick off six years from now.

He had said that completing the feasibility study would incur more costs, which the company had to bear, as the state government had yet to pay for it.

The RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project had raised numerous controversies in recent months, especially on the high cost of the RM305 million feasibility studies as well as the delay in completing it.

It is now a subject of investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

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