Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Press Statement from Parti Keadilan on Penang Second Bridge

Press Statement from Parti Keadilan on Penang Second Bridge

22 June 2010

In March, 2008, YB Sim Tze Tzin revealed a letter written by UEM Managing Director Dato Ahmad Pardas Senin to Director of Economic Planning Unit of Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr. Sulaiman Mahbob. The letter dated August 2007, titled “Projek Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang – Analisa Kewangan” was sent to Parti Keadilan Rakyat by a whistle-blower.

There were several main points in the letter.

- Concession period 45 years.

- UEM requested the Government to provide Soft Loan (GSL) at 4%.

- UEM asked as high as RM22,872 million government assistance from the Government including Investment Tax Allowance (ITA), Government Grant, JBIC Loan and Soft Loan.

- Construction price was RM4,068 million.

- Projected Toll charges would amount to RM7,065 million

- Penang 2nd Bridge’s Beginning Toll rate to be RM9.40 (Class 2) with 2% every year till end of concession 2051, to be reviewed every 5 years.

- Penang First Bridge to be adjusted together with Second Bridge to RM9.40, and eventually reached maximum toll rate of RM11.50 and continue till 2051. (In fact concession ends in 2018, why till 2051?)

- No more 20% discount for Touch & Go cards.

Former Chief Minister denied Sim’s statement at that time. With recent developments, Sim’s revelations have proven to be true. Recently, first came the controversial cancellation of Touch & Go discounts. Under immense public pressure, the Gov flip-flop and announced that non-Penangites will no longer enjoy the discount. Last week, Prime Minister has confirmed that Penang Second Bridge Toll will be RM9.40, consistent with Sim’s revelation. Now, we are worried that the Government will just go along with whatever proposal the UEM in this letter.

Something is not right with Penang Second Bridge Project. At a time where federal minister warned that the country would go bankrupt, huge amount of money has gone to subsidized crony companies (please refer Government Assistance section). Federal Government gave Penangites various construction costs, the construction cost keeps escalating although material prices have come down significantly, the toll rates jump 34% from RM7 to RM9.40. The terms and conditions of the contract are shrouded with secrecy. All these have to stop. Penang Parti Keadilan Rakyat demands accountability from the Federal Government.

Penangites have been short-changed for the first time when the Government proposed and selected the current alignment and design without consultation with the Rakyat. Then, the government again direct negotiated with UEM without open tender.

We believe open tender will bring the best deals for Penangites. Competitive bidding will bring the cost down significantly. Competition will also bring in the best expertise and technology to construct the bridge. Competition will benefit the Rakyat. Unfortunately, with the current Barisan Nasional usual practice, their crony companies “didahulukan”.

We need to put a stop to all these corrupt practices. Today, we are revealing the document that we got in 2008. This letter has not been disclosed to public before. It is an old document, we believe there will be more recent development. Under BN administration that has never practice transparency, this is the only financial analysis we have had. In the name of transparency, the rakyat has the rights to know.

Therefore, Penang Parti Keadilan Rakyat call upon the Prime Minister to de-classified the Penang Second Bridge Toll contract between The Government of Malaysia with UEM. Penangites have the rights to know what is in for them. They are the people who will use it everyday. They are the people who pay for it for the next 40 years.

Failure to do so, Penang Parti Keadilan Rakyat will intensify our campaign to halt the Toll Hike. We will mobilize the Rakyat to tell the Prime Minister, we don’t want toll hike. We want Competitive, Accountability and Transparency in Second Penang Bridge Project.

YB Sim Tze Tzin

Ketua Biro Komunikasi Parti Keadilan Rakyat Pulau Pinang

ADUN Pantai Jerejak.

YB Yusmadi

Member of Parliament Balik Pulau

2nd Penang Bridge completion in 2013

The 2nd Penang Bridge in Penang connecting Batu Maung in the south-eastern part of the Penang Island to Batu Kawan on the mainland will supercede the existing bridge in being the longest in the country and South-East Asia when completed. Its total length of 23.5km will take approximately 20 minutes to travel across at 80km per hour. In the latest update, the bridge is scheduled for completion in September 2013, after numerous delays.

Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong raised questions at the Dewan Rakyat pertaining to the cost of the second bridge which now stands at RM4.5 billion. It was formerly RM4.3 billion in 2008 when the price of oil was at its peak. He further asked for clarifications for an amount of RM20 million which was being allocated for ceremonial duties and RM63.51 million which was for overhead and support expenses. The Prime Minister, Najib Razak in his reply stated that the cost of the bridge had not risen but did not elaborate on the RM83.51 million. He also confirmed that the said cost includes the construction of the casting yard by CHEC Construction (M) Sdn. Bhd. And UEM Builders Bhd.

In a press conference held at the CHEC office in Batu Maung, CM Lim Guan Eng revealed that the 2nd Penang Bridge was now 25% completed. The substructure of the bridge,at RM2.2billion is managed by CHEC Construction, a China-based company, while its superstructure, at RM1.5 billion by UEM Builders. Three other companies were awarded to build the highways. Cergas Murni for the Batu Maung area at RM67 million; IJM Corp Bhd for the Batu Kawan area at RM350 million; and HRA Teguh Sdn. Bhd. for the roads joining the North-South Highway at RM152 million.

An impact study on the bridge showed that it could withstand collision of up to 1 Mega Newton; and has a seismic loading of up to 8.0 on the Richter scale. The 2nd Penang Bridge has a lifespan of 120 years.

Commenting on the toll increase in 2013, CM Lim said that Penang will oppose the hike and that there will be an anti-RM9.40 Penang Bridge Toll Rate meeting. This will be a 34% increase from the current RM7.00. Drawing parallels to Najib’s Persian cat which he recently purchased to which he asked for suggestions for names, Lim was peeved that the PM did not consult the 1.5million residents in Penang Island for the hike in toll rates.