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Sunday, June 25, 2017

'Explanation given, Rahman Dahlan should just 'shut' it



The recent detailed explanation by the Penang state government has once and for all laid bare, the political motive of Abdul Rahman Dahlan, BN's strategic communications director, who accused the state of paying four times more the fee for engineering and consultancy, for three paired roads.
Abdul Rahman had a few weeks ago in a press conference, made some serious allegations about the fee structure for the three-paired roads connecting the proposed undersea tunnel. According to him, that fee should have been around RM41 million but the Penang government ended up paying four times higher, amounting to RM175.5 million.
Abdul Rahman warned that if the Penang state government did not give a satisfactory explanation to his queries, then he would have no choice but to report the matter to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
The BN strategic director in his zeal to fault the Penang state government refused to consider the various explanations given by the Penang government over the fees incurred for the engineering and feasibility studies for the three-paired roads and the undersea tunnel.
A few days back, Chow Kon Yeow, senior state executive councilor and the person in charge of local government affairs, refuted and exposed the preposterous allegations of Abdul Rahman and his team.
Chow in his rebuttal, said that Abdul Rahman, in his haste did not take into account the other fees that were incurred in the overall design of the road. According to him, the civil and structural construction fee was RM64.3 million and not RM 175.5 million.
But the overall fee of RM175.5 million included costs such as land survey, detailed environmental impact assessment, tunnel design, architectural design, mechanical and electrical, project management, social impact study, traffic impact, financial feasibility and funding management.
The costs of these ten additional items were never factored into the calculation of costs for construction and feasibility studies by the BN's strategic and communications team.
Even the Board of Engineers of Malaysia (BEM) whom Abdul Rahman depended on for his figures, were probably not aware of the additional items and why the engineering and consultancy fee came up to RM 175.5 million.
In fact, the consultation fee for the three-paired roads was only 1.86 percent of the maximum allowed (2.54 percent) gazetted fees for projects exceeding RM1 billion mark set by BEM.
Furthermore, Works Minister Fadillah Yusof also erred by simply siding with the BEM and failing to check with the ground reality in Penang. I suppose if he had considered the additional costs that were incurred he would probably not blindly sided with Abdul Rahman or his "non-strategic" team.
The Penang state government has clearly explained that it did not pay four times more for the engineering and consultancy fees for the three-paired roads. Abdul Rahman by failing to take into account the additional items wrongly and seriously miscalculated the costs leading him to accuse the Penang state of wastage and possible corruption.

Hopefully, the detailed explanation provided by the Penang state government should "shut" him from exposing his own ignorance about the road project.

P RAMASAMY is Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang and the state assemblyperson for Perai. - Mkini

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