Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In George Town, Penang On 16.1.2018.
The Penang State Government Will Not Be Bullied By The BN Government’s Political Witch Hunt Into The Tunnel And 3 Road Projects Nor Bow Down To Dirty Tactics Of Intimidation, Fake News And Abuse Of Power To Sabotage This Transport Plan To Alleviate Traffic Congestion.
The Penang state government reminds Malaysian Anti-Corruption Comission(MACC) deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki that his comments that investigation into the under-sea tunnel and three main highways in Penang would also include those in the media, must necessarily not be based solely on reports in the BN media. MACC should also rely on reports raised in the independent and neutral online news media to prevent any negative perception that its investigations are driven by the fake news in the BN news media.
Unlike the dubious land transaction deals involving 1MDB, PERDA and FELDA, the Penang state government is an open book and has co-operated fully with MACC. However, the Penang state government will not be bullied by the BN Government’s political witch hunt into the under-sea tunnel and 3 road projects nor bow down to dirty tactics of intimidation, fake news and abuse of power to sabotage this transport plan to alleviate traffic congestion.
There is nothing to hide nor fear when the project is granted through an open competitive tender by the Penang Tender Committee chaired by the Penang State Secretary. Bear in mind that the Penang Tender Committee is required by law to be chaired by the State Secretary and its members, senior state government officials. The Chief Minister or the EXCO member is not permitted by law to be in the Penang State Tender Committee.
For this reason, the BN media such as the New Straits Times, Star, Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and TV3 have conducted a massive campaign of lies, falsehoods and fake news to sabotage this project and undermine 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 Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission(MACC). Amongst such lies are:-
· The state government has allowed a special purpose vehicle to pre-sell RM3 billion of state land to the contractor undertaking the project.
· Sea land not yet reclaimed has 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.
· The bidding process was flawed and claims made were excessively high.
Despite the state government patiently showing proof to rebut such lies by the BN media, the BN media cowardly and dishonestly refused to print them. Up till today, neither The Star nor the New Straits Times can show proof that the state government had allowed RM3 billion of state land to be pre-sold. For this reason the state government expresses misgivings when MACC investigations appears to be driven by fake news in the BN media.
Both Penang State EXCO Lim Hock Seng and myself had said that the Penang state government had not paid a single cent for the undersea tunnel but had paid RM208 million for work done on the three road highway projects. And yet the BN media continues to harp on Lim Hock Seng and myself giving different figures. Payment was made by land swap at a net development value of RM1,300 per square feet, which is significantly higher than the current market value. The land swapped was not on unreclaimed sea land but existing land with land title.
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. When there were disclosures making a strong allegation involving the Johor Menteri Besar of receiving funds of tens of millions of ringgit, the authorities had acted quickly. Why the double-standards?
LIM GUAN ENG