Penang welcomes works minister’s help with third bridge project

By Opalyn Mok
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (pic) will make a written request to Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof for a meeting to talk. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, March 31 — The Penang state government welcomed the Works Minister's offer to help with the state's proposed third bridge project and wants to meet with the minister to discuss the project.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he will write to the minister, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, for a meeting to talk about the proposed project.

He said if the minister is sincere in offering its help, the state government is willing to accept the ministry's assistance in implementing the project.

Lim said he hoped the minister will give the state approval for its proposed third bridge first.

“At least give us the approval to build a third bridge, on principle first, then we will follow up with details for the project,” he said in a press conference at his office today.

Lim was responding to a statement issued by Fadillah yesterday.

Yesterday, Fadillah said the ministry is still waiting for the feasibility and detailed design studies for the proposed RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.

The minister said the state government had also written to ask for approval to build a third bridge instead of a tunnel but did not include any details to the project.

He said the ministry would need full details of the project before it could approve the proposed third bridge.

Lim contended that the minister can approve the proposed bridge project in principal first and the state will submit the details later.

“Other ministries have given approval in principle within 24 hours and we follow up with details later so the works ministry can do the same too,” he said.

The Penang lawmaker added that it is very expensive to come up with detailed designs for the proposed bridge that could go up to millions.

“So, we need the minister's approval in principle first before we spend that kind of money,” he said.

As for Fadillah's claims that the state government had delayed in completing its feasibility studies for the undersea tunnel, Lim said this was due to the delay in the land reclamation masterplan.

“As at December 2016, the feasibility studies achieved 87 per cent completion and we cannot complete it because the land reclamation masterplan is not completed but does not affect completion schedule of the overall project which is set to 2027,” he said.

He said the land reclamation masterplan, undertaken by Rayston Consortium Sdn Bhd, was the reclamation approved by the previous government for the Butterworth Outer Ring Road project back in 1999.

“We are still waiting for the masterplan to be completed first,” he said.