For many years, Lim Guan Eng was very firm in building Penang tunnel with 30 years toll.
When questioned why he needs to collect toll on the tunnel despite it being against Pakatan Manifesto, he repeatedly answered:
“If we do not collect toll then the First and Second Penang Bridge operator will sue us due to loss of business.”.
That is an incredibly stupid excuse. It is like saying private hospitals would sue public hospitals for loss of business or toll concessionaires will sue govt for providing alternative toll free roads.
Initially, LGE did not mind giving those stupid excuse but then Abdul Rahman Dahlan and others gave intense scrutiny to the project in March and April last year.
Rahman pointed out that the Penang Govt is essentially paying for the full construction cost of the tunnel but still giving the company building the tunnel a 30 years concession.
Essentially having your cake and eating it too (like in the cartoon) where the contractor can enjoy construction profits but still make more money from the 30 years toll of an estimated RM8 billion more.
This was the most incredible concession agreement ever even beating out all of Mahathir’s lop-sided agreement.
Unable to defend anymore, Lim Guan Eng thus tried to deflect and tai-chi by saying he will change the 30 years tunnel into toll-free bridge and wrote Works Minister Fadillah Yusof that letter in May last year.
There is great doubt about his sincerity since it is almost coming up to one year and Penang Govt still is not able to give a single piece of supporting documentation for their application despite promising many times – thus it is likely this request is just to stop the attacks on the original very lop-sided business model.
Initially said he has no problems giving the studies. Then he ask why you need the studies. Then he said no problem to give studies.
Then he said study not ready and will give in early 2017.
And latest yesterday is that studies are stuck at 87% because of “BN project 18 years ago in 1999” and he HOPE to give by end 2017.