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Friday, March 31, 2017

Fadillah's 'out of the blue' remark on third bridge surprises CM Penang

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has expressed his surprise over Works Minister Fadillah Yusof’s statement on the Penang third bridge, which the former described as "out of the blue".
“I am surprised he sent this statement out of the blue. Clearly it was a politically-motivated statement,” Lim said at a press conference today.
“But I do not want to harbour such negative perception about him, I will look at the positive aspect and not question his sincerity."
Lim said Fadillah can help the Penang government by approving in principle the state’s plan to build a toll-free third bridge instead of the costly RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel, linking the island to Butterworth.
He said the matter has been communicated several times to Fadillah, “but he does not seem to understand”.
“We don’t know whether the problem lies with his officers or that he simply cannot understand.”
Still, Lim said he does not wish to quarrel with Fadillah, and vowed to write to the minister to make him understand the situation.
He said he last wrote to Fadillah in May last year.
“We will write to him again, if necessary, to reset the whole relationship. We will express our willingness to meet him in person.”
In his statement yesterday, Fadillah also offered to help Lim on the feasibility and design studies for three main road projects and the undersea tunnel.
Lim said currently, 87 percent of the study on the undersea tunnel was done, while 13 percent is pending a master plan by private developer Rayston Consortium on its development plans in Butterworth.
In 1999, BN inked a reclamation agreement involving 650ha with Rayston for the Butterworth Outer Ring Road.
“We have to honour the contract signed between Rayston and the then BN government,” Lim said.
“But we must stress that this will not interfere with the completion date of the tunnel project, which is 2027. We still have time."
Adjust JKR's costing schedule
On Fadillah’s remark that the feasibility study of RM305 million being “too excessive”, Lim urged him to adjust the Works Ministry’s (JKR) specifications.
He said the cost of the study is in compliance with JKR costing.
He pointed to engineer Ang Aing Thye, who was present at the press event, saying the latter can verify that the cost of feasibility study was below JKR’s costing schedule.
“Perhaps, he should meet directly with us to get the accurate information,” said Lim.
In May last year, Lim Hock Seng, the state executive councillor in charge of infrastructure, had explained that the RM305 million included the cost for the feasibility study, environment impact study and detailed design, while the overall cost of construction for the three highway projects and undersea tunnel was RM6.341 billion.
Asked if he met Fadillah in Parliament to talk about these matters, Lim replied: “Sometimes it is hard to talk to him because he has his own set views."
Fadillah had earlier said he would not meet Lim until the study is completed, the latter claimed.
Yesterday, Fadillah had also claimed that Lim raised the issue of the third bridge without providing any details.
To this, Lim replied: “When we wanted to provide the detailed drawings on the feasibility study, we want to provide a complete one."
He said normally, ministries would agree in principle before asking for details or supporting documents.
“Designs are costly, amounting to hundreds and millions of ringgit. It is not just drawings on a piece of paper. We are not just any private institution but a state government.
“There had been incidents where 24-hour approvals were given by certain ministries, where details can be provided later."
Lim however declined to identify which ministry had given such speedy approvals.- Mkini

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