After Mudajaya’s exit, Penang undersea tunnel firm says already looking at new bidders

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
Last month, Consortium Zenith said there was no urgency to present its feasibility study on the proposed undersea tunnel connecting Penang island to the mainland. ― Picture by KE Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Mudajaya Group Bhd’s withdrawal from the proposed undersea tunnel connecting Penang island to the mainland does not pose new obstacles to the project, its main concessionaire Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd said today.

Mudajaya had in a filing with Bursa Malaysia said that its unit Mudajaya Corp Bhd and Consortium Zenith (formerly known as Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd) had agreed that it would be difficult to proceed with the obligations under the letter of award and further proceed with the project due to some uncertainties.

Consortium Zenith senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli pointed out that the withdrawal was a mutual decision, and does not pose obstacles to the Package 2 flyover project linking Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway which Mudajaya was supposed to undertake.

“The Tender Committee of Consortium Zenith is in the process of evaluating new bidders for Package 2, taking into account a set of criteria that best serve their commercial interests.

“A decision shall be made very soon by Consortium Zenith in relation to the appointment of a new contractor for Package 2,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Mudajaya Corp had on December 1 last year accepted the letter of award from Consortium Zenith to undertake the proposed construction of the 7.2km undersea tunnel linking Penang island to the mainland and 5.7km Bandar Baru Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway for RM810 million.

Some issues that are reportedly making it difficult for Mudajaya to execute the project include the inability to secure the exact date for the site possession, the uncertainty in signing the construction contract, and insufficient information provided for the project which has resulted in a lapse of time to the timelines in the letter of award.

Last month, Consortium Zenith said there was no urgency to present its feasibility study on the proposed undersea tunnel connecting Penang island to the mainland.

Construction for the undersea tunnel is supposed to start in 2023 and to be completed by 2027.

The Works Ministry has said it has yet to receive the feasibility studies and detailed design for the undersea tunnel after an 18-month wait.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof reportedly said the delay in submitting the reports, that costs RM305 million, was “very unusual” as the project was awarded to the project delivery partner in April 2013.