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Don't just rely on BN media, Guan Eng tells MACC

Published:  |  Modified:

The MACC must not only base its probe on reports in the "BN media" but also rely on independent and neutral online news when looking into the Penang undersea tunnel and three highway project.

In saying this, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told MACC deputy commissioner Azam Baki that this would prevent any negative perception that its probe is driven by "fake news" in the BN media.

Lim claimed his administration is "an open book" and has co-operated fully with MACC, which is currently probing the project extensively.

Two high-ranking officials of private companies linked to the 7.2km tunnel project are now in police custody to assist in the probe.

"However, the Penang government will not be bullied by BN's political witch hunt nor bow down to dirty tactics of intimidation, fake news and abuse of power to sabotage this transport plan to alleviate traffic congestion," Lim said in a statement today.

He then launched a tirade against the so-called BN media, alleging that they have conducted a "massive campaign of lies, falsehoods and fake news" to sabotage the project.

Lim said their actions also undermined the state government in the run-up to the coming general elections.

"What is worrying is that the fake news claim to come from sources in MACC."

He pointed out that the alleged lies printed in the newspapers in question were that:

  • The state government had allowed a special purpose vehicle (Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd) to pre-sell RM3 billion of state land to the contractor undertaking the project;
  • Sea-land not yet reclaimed had been transferred to the contractor or its nominees to build the City of Dreams project;
  • Money was paid out for work done on the under-sea tunnel project;
  • More than RM208 million was paid out to the contractor, Zenith Construction and Penang state exco for Public Works had contradicted the Penang chief minister by quoting a larger amount paid to Zenith; and
  • The bidding process was flawed and claims made were excessively high.

Lim said despite the state government "patiently" showing proof to rebut such lies, the BN media "cowardly and dishonestly" refused to print them.

Up until today, the newspapers in question cannot show proof that the state government had allowed RM3 billion of state land to be pre-sold, he added.

"For this reason, the state government expresses misgivings when MACC investigations appear to be driven by fake news in the BN media."

Lim and state executive councillor Lim Hock Seng (photo) had insisted that only RM208 million was paid for work done on the three road highway projects.

Payment was made via two land swaps at a net development value of RM1,300 per square feet, which Lim said is "significantly higher than the current market value."

The land swapped was not on unreclaimed sea land, he added, but existing land with the necessary land titles.

"Unfortunately, MACC appears to allow such fake news in the BN media that quotes unnamed MACC sources to continue to be printed without taking any action," Lim said.

"When there were disclosures making a strong allegation involving the Johor menteri besar of receiving funds of tens of millions of ringgit, the authorities acted quickly.

"Why the double-standards?"

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