CYBERJAYA, June 20 (Bernama) -- Barisan Nasional (BN) Strategic Communication Director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has given the DAP-led Penang government a week or until after Aidilfitri to explain how it overpaid three main road projects on the island by 400 per cent.
He said that if no explanation was forthcoming, he would not hesitate to report the matter to the police or Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission asking for an investigation to determine whether there was any element of corruption or abuse of power.
From the Penang Public Accounts Report 2016, the cost of feasibility studies for the three roads -- Tanjung Bungah-Teluk Bahang paired road of 10.53km; Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu-Air Itam bypass of 5.7 km and Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu-Persiaran Gurney bypass of four km -- was RM31.3 million while the detailed design fees was RM177.5 million or a total of RM208 million, he said.
"According to a written answer given to the Penang State Assembly on May 19 this year, state executive councillor Lim Hock Seng had confirmed that a total sum of RM208.8 million had been paid to the concession holder using the state land," he told a press conference here today.
Abdul Rahman, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said that since road construction was not new in Malaysia and the country had vast experience in building roads, the BN Strategic Communication team questioned the high cost and wrote to the Board of Engineers to seek its professional opinion.
In its reply, he said, the Board of Engineers stated that the RM177 million paid by the Penang government to the concession holder was four times higher than the maximum allowed under the gazetted scale of fees, which the board had calculated to be RM41 million.
"Based on the Board of Engineers reply, we believe that the Penang government had overpaid by RM136.4 million in consultation fees for the three roads. The DAP Penang government should clarify why they have paid much higher than the maximum gazetted scale," he said.
Abdul Rahman said the original project schedule, when the project was signed in late 2013, showed that the construction of two of the three roads was supposed to start in 2015 and be completed in 2018.
However, he said, further checks showed that to date, physical construction had not even started on any of the roads.
In comparison, Abdul Rahman said, the BN government spent RM230 million to fully construct the Batang Sadong Bridge, the current longest bridge in Sarawak, which was promised during the 2011 Sarawak Elections and was opened to the public last year.