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No light at end of tunnel row: CM makes MCA's 'proof' go 'poof'

Published:  |  Modified:

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has brushed off MCA's alleged "proof" that he lied about a Chinese construction firm related to the undersea tunnel project.

Lim said he had never mentioned in March 2013 that China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) was the main shareholder of the undersea tunnel's special purpose vehicle Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.

He stressed that he has always referred to CRCC as the project's main contractor, who had signed an agreement and acknowledgement of commitment between the state government and Zenith.

He added that at the time in 2013, lawyers had not finalised the agreement between the three parties – Penang government, Zenith as the successful tenderer and CRCC as the main contractor.

"The conclusive legal position was only finalised when the agreement was signed by the three parties, on Oct 6, 2013 and stamped on Oct 29, 2013," Lim said in a statement today.

"What I had said in March 2013, before the agreement was signed in October 2013, was in reference to the joint-venture between the parties.

"The type of 'joint-venture' is clarified legally and conclusively by the contractual agreement that was signed and stamped in October 2013.

"In that contractual agreement, it is clear that CRCC is the main contractor," he added.

Yesterday, Wee (photo) claimed he had "solid proof" of Lim saying otherwise.

He cited Lim saying in state publication Buletin Mutiara that:

“The state government had awarded the tender to Consortium Zenith BUCG, a special purpose vehicle company set up by a joint venture between local company Construction Zenith, CRCC along with Beijing Urban Construction Group, Sri Tinggi Sdn Bhd and Juteras Sdn Bhd.”

'No need to explain the contradiction'

Lim claimed that whatever he said before October 2013, is not as important or as relevant compared to the contractual agreement signed at the time.

He questioned why Wee had raised this question five years later if he knew there was a contradiction in 2013.

"Clearly there was none. There would be a need to explain the contradiction if I had said this after October 2013, after the contractual agreement was signed, that CRCC was a shareholder and not the main contractor," Lim added.

He said the dispute over the words "contractor" and "shareholder" does not equate to corruption.

Lim urged Wee to explain where the corruption was in the entire tunnel and the related project of three main roads.

He also asked if Wee could show proof that there were kickbacks amounting to millions of ringgit paid to the Penang government leaders as alleged.

"Wee must explain where was the corruption to dispel the negative impression of a dual selective investigation by MACC and a political witch hunt by BN.

"They are misusing their control of the BN media to smear the reputation of Penang state government leaders," Lim alleged.

In view of this, Lim said that Wee's "solid proof" had in fact gone "poof." 

MACC had queried more than 70 and nabbed four individuals linked to the RM6.3 billion project, which is slated for completion in 2027.

"Whether BN succeeds or not to cause this three roads and undersea tunnel to fail and not to be built, will depend on whether Zenith or CRCC can sustain the pressure exerted from the MACC investigations and the daily widespread negative coverage in the BN media.

"The question is if MCA or BN succeeds in sabotaging the project, what is their alternative plan to alleviate traffic congestion in Penang?" he queried.

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