Penang >>>

Lim Guan Eng said 'It was typo' to explain discrepancy in costing


Add up four items from 1 to 4 is 4.08 billion. I do not know which number is wrong due to typo.

The initial costing of 4.08 billion raised to RM6.30 billion is due to TYPO is truly a mind boggling issue in any country except in China and North Korea.

BN politicians are greedy and corrupt, they always avoid to answer the costing question. But “Typo” is never a better answer than no answer.

Typo reply is fully reserved for another FXXX remark.

Action needed on shocking cost hike on tunnel

FMT LETTER: From Ong Eu Soon, via e-mail

While others took years to plan for tunnel related projects, Lim Guan Eng with little or virtually no knowledge on tunnelling took only months to plan. The tunnel had been sought under the pretext of easing congestion on the island, but the exit point of the tunnel at Gurney Drive threatens to turn the place into a choke point in the island’s transportation network.

In his speech to investors at the Penang Investment Seminar on Sept 13, 2011 at Rasa Sayang Hotel, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has shared the mega infrastructure projects estimate to cost RM4 billion. The following is the excerpt of his speech:

I wish to share with you some of the major infrastructure projects that we have planned for Penang.

1 The Penang Third Link or the Penang-Butterworth Tunnel. This 6.5 km stretch will be a undersea subway tunnel linking Gurney Drive on Penang Island with Bagan Ajam in Seberang Perai North District. Estimated to cost RM1.95 billion, this 3rd link will improve connectivity and meet travel demands from the island to mainland

2 The Gurney Drive-Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu by-pass. This 4.2 km stretch will link Gurney Drive with Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu via Pangkor Road, Perak Road and Sungai Pinang Road. Costing at RM630 million, this by-pass will connect the northern fringes of George Town to the eastern corridor of the island circumventing the Central Business District.

3 Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu-Bandar Baru Air Itam by-pass. This 4.6 km stretch will link Bandar Baru Air Itam (Farlim) with Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu with interchanges at Bandar Baru Air Itam, Jalan Yeap Chor Ee, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah and Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, near the Penang Bridge. Estimated to cost RM920 million, this by-pass is anticipated to reduce traffic congestion on the local roads.

4 Tanjung Bunga-Batu Feringgi-Teluk Bahang Paired Road. Stretching for 12km, this road will be parallel to the existing coastal road from Tanjung Bunga to Teluk Bahang. Estimated to cost RM580 million, the paired road will reduce traffic congestion on the existing North Coastal Road and accommodate generated traffic from new developments.

The speech was made five months after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China in April 2011 on the possibility of building three road and tunnel projects in the island state

Hardly a year later the cost of the projects skyrocket to a RM6.3billion. As I have pointed out earlier that the proposed projects have not been through the required public selection processes for consultants and bidders, environmental studies, public hearings, design completion and independent reviews.

It does not have a detailed, bottom-up cost estimate. It does not even spell out the number of lanes that the tunnel will have. Nor even the depth of the tunnel is specified in order to avoid causing impact to the navigation of vessels plying the Penang Port.

Without a preliminary engineering study, there is insufficient information to complete a level of tunnel design that can be used to estimate the final cost. Guan Eng’s carefree attitude on the project cost overrun can only be explained by this exorbitant cost hike within a short span of time.

The earlier cost estimate projected a maximum final cost of RM4 billion, RM2.3 billion lower than what he had projected after the award of the tender. The state government should come clean with the exorbitant cost hike with a detail bottom up cost estimation to allay fears of abuse of power.

The state government should conduct two independent estimates of costs for the projects and have an analysis of comparable tunnel construction costs at a tunnel which will utilise design and technology similar to that proposed for the projects.

It is of paramount important for the Penang state government to provide us with a unique opportunity to undertake comparative costing of our estimates with current market data if the slogan on corruption eradication by Pakatan is of any meaning.

A system assisting in the early cost estimation of road tunnels would therefore be of great value as it would allow the quick costing of alternative and more economical solutions. The basic parameters, i.e. geological, geometrical, and work quantities-related, affecting temporary and permanent support and final construction cost should be determined.

Without the eventual design work for cost estimation, there is no way to know whether the actual costs be lower or higher. Guan Eng should put the projects on hold pending a preliminary engineering study and design. The estimate cost based on multiple bids solicited for the projects can not be used as it tend to be exorbitant in nature judging from the serious lack of preliminary study.

Guan Eng is making a mockery of repeated claims about his open tender. The tender of the projects is not in keeping with normal government tendering. It is not registered in the e-Perolehan. He should make available copies of tenders for public viewing. We need to know the key information contained in the tenders includes the government’s estimates of the costs and the scope of projects.

It is scandalous for Lim Guan Eng to proceed with the projects by ignoring all the irregularities that emerged from the tender process.

Blog comment is closed, please comment with your facebook ID.