Will Penang Undersea Tunnel project ever see the light of day?

Zalinah Noordin

Will there be light at the end of the tunnel for the Penang Undersea Tunnel? Will the tunnel ever see the light of day?

Embroiled in various issues and controversies, question marks now surround the proposed Penang Undersea Tunnel Project, whether it would really take off as planned in 2023.

Will Penangites really be able to drive through an Undersea tunnel if it is really completed by 2027?

If the Penang Undersea Tunnel does not materialise then it is all BN’s fault for denying Penang a 7.2km undersea tunnel linking Persiaran Gurney on the island to Bagan Ajam on the mainland.

BN, after all has been the one who sabotaged the project by accusing it of being used for for graft, questioning the cost of its feasibility studies, at least according to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The project shall also be remembered for the controversies and issues surrounding it after several individuals including project consultants were detained by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) for investigations of alleged graft.

This was following fresh evidence submitted by Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) vice-President Huan Cheng Guan to the commission.

The project has also been witnessing mudslinging and name-calling between Barisan Nasional and the DAP, with the latest by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who who had described the repeated criticisms by Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders against the state government’s RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three highways as nothing but a “political circus”.

The Penang chief minister said BN leaders are using the undersea tunnel and three highways to go round and round “like in a circus”.

The authorities have also been accused of allowing leaked information which Lim maintained to be false on the project “to tarnish the state government”.

And then last week the Lim even threatened to stop the tunnel project which also includes a three-highway project.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who appeared angry over the negative reports against the project has put the blame on BN claiming it was BN’s way of sabotaging the project would could help alleviate traffic problems in Penang.

“We wanted to start work on the project but got sabotaged, so we do not know whether this project will go on or not,” Lim was quoted as saying at a recent press conference.

The project comprises a 10.53km North Coastal Paired Road from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang, 5.7km Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass and 4.075km Gurney Drive Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass.

It also includes a 7.2km undersea tunnel connecting Persiaran Gurney to Bagan Ajam in Seberang Prai on the mainland.

The project is under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for the high cost of the feasibility study including the payment method that involving a land swap system.

It had also gotten objections from various quarters who expressed concerns over the economic, social and environmental impacts.

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