Press Conference with Sim Tze Tzin & Yusmadi on Penang Second Bridge

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

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