GEORGE TOWN: Barisan Nasional leaders have criticised the Penang Government for allegedly over-paying, by four times, the detailed design fees of three road projects.
“Construction is not a new industry. Many people are puzzled by the exorbitant consultancy fees,” said Penang MCA secretary Tang Heap Seng in a press statement yesterday.
He said the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) devised a standardised gazetted scale of fees for professional engineering consultancy in accordance with Section 4(1)(d) of the Registration of Engineers Act 1967 (Act 138), and it was highly irregular to deviate from it.
Yesterday, it was reported that Barisan’s strategic communication team sought the professional opinion of BEM on the costing of the three paired roads.
The board was said to have replied that the RM177mil in detailed design costs was four times higher than the maximum allowed under the gazetted scale of fees, which the board calculated to be RM41mil.
The three roads are from Teluk Bahang to Tanjung Bungah, Air Itam to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway and Gurney Drive to the expressway. They are meant to be a traffic dispersal system for the proposed Penang Undersea Tunnel.
Penang MCA Youth chief Datuk Michael Lee Beng Seng also issued a statement, pointing out that the alleged overpaid amount of RM136mil was more than the reported RM100mil the state spent on flood mitigation in the last eight years.
“We are shocked that the Penang government has put the well-being and safety of the rakyat behind the interests of consultants and contractors.”
Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau highlighted that affordable housing, flash floods and landslides were issues that concerned Penangites.
On Tuesday, Barisan strategic communications director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan announced that he was giving the Penang Government a week to explain BEM’s findings, failing which the matter would be referred to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
When asked to comment, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng replied: “Another day.” – The Star