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BN questions high cost of three roads in Penang

Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has given the DAP-led Penang government a week or until after Hari Raya Aidilfitri to explain how it overpaid for three main road projects on the island by 400%.

He said that if no explanation was forthcoming, he would report the matter to the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission asking for an investigation to determine whether there was any element of corruption or abuse of power.
From the Penang Public Accounts Report 2016, the cost of feasibility studies for the three roads, namely the 10.53km Tanjung Bungah-Teluk Bahang paired road; the 5.7km Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu-Air Itam bypass and the 4km Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu-Persiaran Gurney bypass was RM31.3mil, while the detailed design fees was RM177.5mil for a total of RM208mil, he said.
"According to a written answer given to the Penang State Assembly on May 19 this year, state executive councillor Lim Hock Seng confirmed that a total of RM208.8mil had been paid to the concession holder using state land," he told a press conference here Tuesday.
Abdul Rahman, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said that since road construction was not new in Malaysia and the country had vast experience building roads, the Barisan strategic communications team was questioning the high cost and had written to the Board of Engineers for its professional opinion.
In its reply, the Board of Engineers stated that the RM177mil paid by the Penang government to the concession holder was four times higher than the maximum allowed under the gazetted scale of fees, which the board had calculated to be RM41mil.
"Based on the Board of Engineers' reply, we believe that the Penang government had overpaid by RM136.4mil in consultation fees for the three roads.
"The DAP Penang government should clarify why they paid more than the maximum gazetted scale," he said.
Abdul Rahman said the original project schedule, when the project was signed in late 2013, showed that the construction of two of the three roads was supposed to start in 2015 and completed in 2018.
However, he said, further checks showed that to date, physical construction had not even started on any of the roads.
In comparison, Abdul Rahman said, the Barisan government spent RM230mil to fully construct the Batang Sadong Bridge, the current longest bridge in Sarawak, which was promised during the 2011 Sarawak elections and was opened to the public last year.


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