COMMENT | This statement responds to comments made in a recent media article concerning the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) Highway published by The Star on Aug 6.
PIL 1 is subject to open tender (unlike ECRL)
Being a conscientious and responsive Government that stand by the governance principle of Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT), it has come to our attention that certain party has alleged that the cost of PIL 1 Highway is exorbitant and compared it to the cost of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.
It is our responsibility to clear the air on these misguided allegations.
Firstly, there are major differences between a highway and a railway. Comparing the cost between two distinctly different infrastructure is like comparing an apple with an orange.
Without strong grounds for a like-for-like comparison, the public could be misled by distorted assertions by certain individuals who compare the cost per km between a highway and a railway.
Therefore, in the interest of accountability and transparency, we would like to provide a perspective on the differences in the structural and other related aspects of PIL 1 and ECRL, which will heavily influence the cost:
*Please refer to accompanying tunnel and viaduct illustrations below.
It is noteworthy to highlight the following:
a) Current PIL 1 cost is only preliminary and shall only be finalised after open competitive tenders are awarded to qualified work package contractors. In contrast, the ECRL project award was finalised without an open competitive tender (direct negotiation).
b) ECRL cost does NOT include land acquisition cost, which is a Government cost.
c) PIL 1 is fully funded with revenue (income) generated from the Penang South Reclamation project. In contrast, ECRL is financed by a foreign loan to be repaid with taxpayers’ money.
Comparison with Kidex
The PIL 1 alignment consists of tunnels while the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) has no tunnel as it is a fully elevated highway. Tunnel costs are at least double that of an elevated section.
If we only consider PIL 1’s elevated section unit rate and multiply it with the length of Kidex, the construction cost will be almost similar at 2013 prices.
In fact, the estimated cost for PIL 1 will be even cheaper than Kidex at today’s prices.
Note that Kidex is a four-lane highway while PIL 1 is a six-lane highway.
As mentioned in the Penang State Government’s statement on PIL 1 dated Aug 7, we continue to value all comments and concerns received and each suggestion will be taken into consideration in the refinement and fine-tuning of the PIL 1 alignment for the benefit of all.
Lastly, we reiterate that we are steadfast in upholding the CAT principle in implementing the Penang Transport Master Plan that will further improve the lives of all Penangites and our future generations.
Chow Kon Yeow is the Chief Minister of Penang as well as the State Executive Councillor for Transport, Information, Land Matters and Land Development.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini