Works Ministry will consider the third Penang bridge but proper application has to be submitted first

Fadillah Yusof

(MMO) – Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof today said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should have submitted the application for the third Penang bridge to his ministry and not directly to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In a statement today, Fadillah also said that such applications should be “free from political rhetoric”.

“For example, terms like ‘anasir-anasir jahat’ (evil elements) are not helpful and not typically found in an application letter for major infrastructure,” Fadillah said, referring to Lim’s letter addressed to Najib on May 26.

However, Fadillah said that his ministry was prepared to consider the application, provided the relevant documents are given to them.

“The Works Ministry commits to a fair evaluation to the third bridge proposal and we seek the cooperation of the Penang government to share with us all the relevant documentation, so that we are able to make an informed decision in the best interest of the rakyat,” he said.

“One major document would be the almost-completed RM305 million feasibility and detailed design studies commissioned and paid for by the Penang government for the undersea tunnel project and associated linked roads,” he added.

The state government had commissioned the feasibility study ahead of its plans to build an undersea tunnel as the third link between island and mainland in the state.

The tunnel was proposed as the state would need federal approval in order to build a third Penang bridge, but not for the underwater link.

Fadillah noted that the state government previously said the studies would not go to waste in the event that the proposed tunnel is replaced with the third bridge by arguing that both would share the same alignment.

“If that is the case, submitting these documents to us would assist us in our decision-making,” the minister added.

Fadillah stressed that it is not standard practice for the government to sanction a multi-billion ringgit project without a “single piece of documentation”.

“I’m quite sure even planning permission applications to the Penang local councils require supporting documentation and that approvals in principles are not given based on only a letter,” he said.

“The Works Ministry looks forward to working together with the Penang state government to ascertain the feasibility and timing of the proposed third link to the mainland, in a professional manner,” he added.

The RM6.3 billion tunnel link project was first mooted by the state government in 2012.

It is scheduled to start construction this year and be completed in 2025.