Penang yet to get federal govt okay for tunnel project

GEORGE TOWN, 17 Aug 2017: 

The Penang state government will make a formal application to the Finance Ministry on its intention to apply for a loan from Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) to finance the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) project, after obtaining approval to build it.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday said he had not submitted the loan application because he had not received approval from the federal government to implement the project.

“As soon as we (the state government) get approval from the federal government to implement the LRT (Light Rail Transit) project, we will begin the process to obtain the loan,” he told a press conference.

Lim was commenting on Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani’s statement that the Finance Ministry had yet to receive an official application from the Penang government for the loan of about RM1 billion.

Meanwhile, Lim urged the federal government to consider and approve the state government’s plan to implement the PTMP project, to avoid congestion in Penang.

The PTMP project which will cost about RM27 billion, involves the construction of a 6.5km undersea tunnel, three highways, LRT, and Penang Sky Cab (cable car).

Separately, Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh – who was previously detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to facilitate investigations into an illegal factory operating for 10 years in Bukit Mertajam – will go on medical leave until Monday.

CM Lim said the Penang State Executive Council at its meeting yesterday, approved a special request from Phee who is state welfare, caring society and environment committee chairman, that he be given medical leave by a doctor until Aug 21.

“Phee will return to work after the medical leave and explain the issue of the factory in Sungai Lembu which has allegedly been allowed to operate for more than 10 years.

“The factory is located 1km from a residential area, which exceeds the buffer zone for heavy industries by 500 metres.”

Lim also reiterated his stand the state government believed Phee was not involved in any corrupt practice or had received bribes or had any interest or family connection to the factory owners.

“Phee will give full cooperation to the MACC, in accordance with the law…all exco members are ready to be called by the MACC and will not evade, run away or go into hiding.”

On Aug 11, Phee was detained by the MACC to give evidence at the Penang MACC office here.

The Sungai Puyu DAP assemblyman was then remanded for five days from Saturday to assist in investigations into the case but Phee was freed three days later, when the Penang High Court allowed an application for a review to cancel the remand order on him.

Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim Chee Keong denied he had not taken any action on a complaint of air pollution and stench involving chemicals from a scrap iron factory in Kampung Tok Subuh, Bukit Minyak near here.

He said government agencies, local and federal authorities had taken several measures on the matter.

– Bernama

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