Penang govt yet to decide whether to proceed with undersea tunnel project, says exco

(MMO) – The Penang state government has yet to make a decision on whether the controversial undersea tunnel project will be built, said state exco Zairil Khir Johari (DAP – Tanjung Bungah).

The Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman said the state will only make a decision after the feasibility report on the tunnel by Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) is finalised.

“So, at this time, there is no need to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment for the project until the feasibility report is finalised by CZC,” he said in his written reply to a question by Mohd Yusni Mat Piah (PAS – Penaga) at the state legislative assembly.

Mohd Yusni had asked the state to reveal the EIA for the undersea tunnel and to list the agencies that had approved the project.

Zairil said the undersea tunnel is one of the components of the three highways and undersea tunnel project to be implemented by CZC.

“CZC presented the draft feasibility report on the undersea tunnel project on September 6, 2019 to the state after it was inspected by an independent consultant engineer appointed by the state,” he said.

He said the draft report was amended with improvements based on reviews by various relevant agencies and is being monitored by the state technical works committee over several meetings held since November 2019.

“CZC is expected to finalise the feasibility report in the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said.

He said if the state decided to go ahead with the undersea tunnel project based on the feasibility report, an EIA will be prepared and submitted for approval from the Department of Environment (DOE).

He said DOE will be the government agency to evaluate and decide on the approvals for the EIA.

The undersea tunnel is part of an overall RM6.341 billion project that includes three paired roads.

The undersea tunnel project was also at the centre of graft allegations against former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.