By ANDREA FILMER (THE STAR Thursday April 17, 2008)
PENANG: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has expressed disappointment over news that the completion of the Second Link or second Penang Bridge would be delayed.
Responding to reports that the second link would need an extra nine months to be completed, Lim said bridge contractor UEM Builders Bhd had yet to inform the state about the delay.
“All we know is what we read in the newspapers.
“It seems that the promise made by Tan Sri Zaini Omar (the second bridge’s special task force head) to complete the Second Link by 1 Jan 2011 remains an unfulfilled promise.
“We are very disheartened with the delay and higher costs of the project as in the end, Penangites will be the ones to pay more,” Lim said after visiting the recently resumed Penang Hill funicular railway Thursday morning.
News reports said the Federal Government had set the cost of the bridge at RM4.3bil over the previous estimate of RM3.5bil.
Lim said the project delay and lack of information from the Federal Government was disappointing.
“The state government is ready and willing to work with the Federal Government, however, we don’t seem to be getting any response.
"This is not a healthy way for the Federal Government to react to the sincerity of the new state government,” he said.
Lim added that “other measures” would be looked into if the state continued to get the cold shoulder from the Federal Government, but declined to elaborate.
On the public spat between him and former deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah, Lim said his office was drafting a letter to invite Abdul Rashid to a meeting.
“The state government is trying to be fair and we want to hear his side of the story on several land issues.
“While we can access information from the Land Office, this does not shed light on why certain deals that are not in the public’s interest, were made in the first place,” Lim said, saying that these deals led to tens of millions of ringgit being siphoned off.