TTF: Yesterday, the honourable deputy president of MCA, Dato’ Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, pointed out correctly that P. Ramasamy was distorting facts regarding the multibillion Penang Undersea Tunnel project (see news item below). As a matter of fact, the Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) of Penang was trying so hard to appear intelligent, he managed to do just the opposite – he proved himself to be a joke and not the intellectual he cut himself out to be.
Let me remind you that this is the guy who, on the 25th of October 2017, told Penang Forum to wait for the findings of a State Commission of Inquiry (SCI) that Lim Guan Eng promised to call into a tragedy.
“It is not that members of Penang Forum cannot ask for political change, but at least have the decency for the report of the commission to be made public,” he said.
The said tragedy pertained a landslide in Tanjung Bungah that claimed the lives of several foreigners and a Malaysian.The DCM was responding to calls by the NGO for assemblymen to quit amid concerns that the state cut corners and ignored warnings by the Department of Environment (DoE).
As virtuous and as intelligent as Ramasamy tried to sound, the irony with which Guan Eng repeatedly classified the tragedy as being a “worksite accident” totally ‘escaped’ him. Now, I found that ‘oversight’ a tad too peculiar.
The reason being, a man of Ramasamy’s stature should immediately have noticed how it was impossible for anyone to categorise the tragedy as an accident when the planned SCI had yet to take off. Seriously, how could the ‘very intelligent’ professor have ‘overlooked’ this?
And that’s not all.
It is exactly two months since The Third Force requested for the findings of a One-Stop Centre Committee (OSC) that Chow Kon Yeow spoke of to be made public. The findings pertain recommendations made by more than 20 agencies that Chow purported had white flagged development along Lengkok Lembah Permai where the landslide occurred.
On the 25th of October 2017, I wrote the following:
According to him (Chow), the OSC took in views of more than 20 external and internal agencies before deciding to approve the construction project.
“The DoE may have objected to the plan, but after considering the views from all the agencies in OSC, the decision was made to approve the project,” he told a press conference at Komtar on Monday.
What does this imply?
It implies that the committee was given reasons so compelling that it chose to ignore threats posed by the granite quarry. More importantly, it tells you that over 11 agencies assessed risks involved and gave the committee the go ahead. Question is, will the Chief Minister now make public the findings of these agencies in the spirit of Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT)?
Only then can we know for sure what was so compelling that it prompted the state government to ignore theDoE.
Did all this escape you too, Ramasamy?
If it didn’t, then tell me, why did you not have the decency to get your boss to respond? Is he afraid that Malaysians will discover how he and Chow conspired to conceal truths damaging to his administration? Whatever happened to the principles of Competency, Accountability and Transparency you guys claim to go by?
And tell me, why are you defending a proven liar by telling Penang Forum to wait for the findings of an inquiry he clearly has no intention of conducting fairly? Seriously, if your boss truly intended to play fair, why did he not set up an independent Task Force comprising distinguished members of society to advise the state government on the Terms of Reference for the SCI?
And please, consider the following the next time you decide to open your mouth:
1. Never ever undermine the people’s intelligence by bullshxxting like your boss does. For instance, the Tanjung Bungah worksite where the tragedy occurred was situated right on a hillslope and not flatland as you so gallantly insisted.
2. Don’t take us Penangites for fools. Know that any flat terrain situated anywhere on a stretch with an incline, however irregular or steady that incline may be, is construed to be part of a hillslope, unless that terrain is located a certain distance from the onset of that stretch.
3. Never refer to yourself as professor ever again.
4. Accordingly, you are only a professor within the confines of the university or institution that awarded you the title, unless, of course, you were accorded the distinction of being an Emeritus associate or an equivalent thereof.
5. By referring to yourself as Professor Ramasamy, you’re in violation of several codes of conduct in academia that the Ministry of Education ought to be looking into with keen interest.
6. Take pride in the fact that you’re acquainted with academia, an environment of prestige that demands standards and ethics unparalleled by any other profession currently in existence.
7. Accordingly, people like you and me ought to be stretching horizons on intellectual thought instead of sinking into realms reminiscent of the one you’re currently imprisoned in.
8. Seriously, don’t insult your own intelligence by letting fools like Guan Eng pervade your conscience with shallow pursuits that tempt only your ego, not your intellect.
GEORGE TOWN: Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy should stop being so defensive over the proposed Penang undersea tunnel scandal by distorting more facts, MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said.
“His (Ramasamy’s) opinion piece today to defend the Penang tunnel scandal is a joke.
“It is nothing more than a drowning man clutching at straws,” Wee said in a press statement issued today.
Wee said Ramasamy had claimed that there was a campaign against the Penang government using half-truths, outright lies and distortion of facts against the tunnel project.
“Yet, he (Ramasamy) has been caught red-handed using half-truths, outright lies and distortion of facts to mislead and confuse the people,” he added.
Wee said, firstly, Ramasamy had said “I don’t think the Penang state secretary said that the CRCC (China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd ) holds equity in the SPV (special purpose vehicle).”
“I don’t think…This is a ridiculous statement coming from a deputy chief minister when it is his responsibility in his position to know the fact.
“The state secretary did indeed say that in his statement dated March 4, 2013 to defend allegations that the SPV did not meet the financial requirement to have a combined paid-up capital of at least RM381 million. He had claimed that the SPV was backed by RM4.5492 billion in paid-up capital.
“He (the state secretary) had said then that Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd together with CRCC Ltd held 70 per cent equity with paid-up capital of RM 3.5 million and RM4 billion, respectively, while Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) held 10 per cent equity with paid-up capital of RM541 million.
“Does the word equity means anything to Ramasamy?” he asked.
Wee said even Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had also repeated the RM4.5 billion paid-up capital backing in his interview with a news portal published on April 11, 2013.
Lim had said in the interview that, “The project was not awarded to some RM2 crony company with no expertise or experience at an overly-inflated price but to companies with a combined paid-up capital of RM4.5 billion”.
Wee however pointed out that today, both CRCC and BUCG were no longer shareholders in the SPV, with CRCC confirming that they were just a contractor to the SPV and not a shareholder.
“In their place as a shareholder is now a loss-making local fashion company, in addition to almost 40 per cent of the shares now held under nominee on behalf of unnamed nominees.
“Would Ramasamy agree that a ‘bait and switch’ has now taken place, where what was promised is now something entirely different?
“I stressed that CRCC is a contractor to the SPV and did not enter into a construction contract with the Penang government. Ramasamy can prove me wrong by publishing the contract between the state government and CRCC. But he will not succeed as such contract does not exist,” he added.
Last week, CRCC had confirmed that it was never a shareholder or a developer of the SPV and was just a contractor, but said the project has not started.
This raises serious question if the SPV has the financial strength to pay CRCC.
Wee said the effect of this meant that the RM6.34 billion project had now been awarded to a local company with only RM300,000 paid up capital, that was only registered on Aug 22 2011, less than three months before the tender opened.
“With this revelation, Ramasamy should explain why the state government did not penalise or cancel the contract as the SPV has never met the minimum RM381 million paid-up capital backing required for the project.
“He also went on to say that how Consortium Zenith made a pre-tax profit of RM60 million for the financial year that ended in August 2015, was of no concern to the state government, as they may have other business.
“He has essentially skipped the issue that Consortium Zenith was the SPV only registered in July 2012 for the sole purpose of delivering the tunnel project. Their only source of revenue at that point in time in 2015 would be from doing the RM305 million reports or selling or developing the state land given as payment for doing the reports.
“Thus, questions that the RM305 million reports are grossly over-priced are valid given the super profits that the then two-year-old SPV is already raking in,” he said, pointing to the fact that while the SPV was making huge amount of money, the people of Penang are not benefiting.
The RM305 million feasibility and detailed design reports are still not completed and no construction has ever started even after almost five years of being awarded the project.
As such, Wee stressed, Ramasamy should answer why the company has not been penalised at all for continuously missing the agreed timelines as per the agreement while they continue to rake in big profits arising from doing the reports and/or exploiting the land given as payment.
“Of course, Ramasamy has also avoided other worrying questions. The SPV had entered into a joint venture with a listed company to pre-sell 50 acres of state land rights at a price of RM2.83 billion to develop a RM15 billion gross development value property project.
“He should comment on why the Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) was present at both the launch of the RM15 billion project in August 2015 as well as the signing ceremony of the memorandum of agreement to sell the land for RM2.83 billion in January 2016.
“He should also answer why the cost to do reports for a simple 10km paired road with construction cost of RM377 million is a staggering RM120 million, while the cost of reports for the much more complicated tunnel, costing RM3.6 billion to construct, is only RM96 million.
“Would he agree that there is ridiculous front-loading of reports cost resulting in the SPV being paid the bulk (RM209 million) of the total reports cost of RM305 million much earlier?” he further questioned.
Wee said, for that, Ramasamy should stay out of defending this increasingly serious tunnel scandal if he does not know what he is talking about by only resorting to “I don’t think” excuses and putting himself at risk of getting dragged down with the scandal.
Source: NST Online