MACC opens 6 probe papers on Penang undersea tunnel

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By TMR

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it has six investigation papers on the RM3.5 billion Penang undersea tunnel project.

In a statement yesterday, MACC said the first investigation paper was opened in July 2017 and the subsequent five probes in January last year.

“Five investigation papers had been completed and referred to the deputy public prosecutor (DPP). Three of the papers had been returned to the commission for further investigation, while another two are still being studied by the DPP,” the MACC said.

The remaining one paper is still being studied by the anti-graft body.

It was reported that the MACC had lodged a police report over leaks of probe papers on a blog recently.

The blog post also alleged that several Penang state exco members including Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had received kickbacks from project contractor Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC).

Meanwhile, CZC senior ED Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli has issued a statement refuting the blogger’s allegations.

“These blog posts are pure fiction and clearly concocted to deceive and defame me, my company and the Penang state government. Even Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said it is a lie,” he said yesterday.

Zarul Ahmad added that he had been remanded for 11 days by the MACC “for what was billed as an extensive investigation into the project”.

“Besides me, my entire company was called for questioning, spending a total of 40 days in and out of the MACC office, cooperating with every single aspect that was being investigated. This includes close scrutiny of our accounts,” he said.

Zarul Ahmad said the MACC had even hired external consultants to see if the company was fair in its pricing.

“May I remind all sceptics out there that this case was investigated and completed way before the change of government had taken place,” he said.

The 7.2km undersea tunnel is part of an integrated infrastructure project which includes three highways, and is slated to begin construction after the completion of the first two highways.

The three highways — known as paired roads — comprise the 10.53km north coastal paired roads from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang; the 5.7km paired road from Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass; and the 4.08km paired road from Gurney Drive to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass.

The mega development project has long been a subject of controversy, especially over the high cost of its RM305 million feasibility studies, as well as the nearly two-year-long delay in its completion.

CZC, a special-purpose vehicle that is 13.21%-owned by Vertice Bhd, secured the traffic alleviation project on Penang Island after winning an open tender organised by the state government.

Zenith Construction has a 47.12% stake in CZC. The rest are held by Kenanga Nominees (Tempatan) Sdn Bhd (38.92%) and Juteras Sdn Bhd (0.75%). Zarul Ahmad also owns a 14.62% stake in Vertice.