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Thursday, January 8, 2009

> Penang withdraws stop work order

The state government has allowed MMC-Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd to resume work on its electrified double-track project through mainland Penang.


Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today the government made the decision after receiving assurance from the company that it will settle pending payments worth RM 7.4 million owing to the state.

He explained that the company has made partial payment of RM4 million and undertaken to finalise the remaining amount by Chinese New Year.

Of the amount, RM 3.2 million was owed as drainage contribution to the state government, while some RM 4.2 million was mainly fines to the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) for conducting work without planning permission, he said.

The state government issued a stop-work order on the project last month after the company failed to submit planning permission application to the MPSP, Lim explained at a press conference at his office in Komtar today.

He also dismissed reported criticism by state Opposition leader and state Umno secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim that the Pakatan Rakyat administration’s initial decision to stop the project was political motivated.

"The state government wants the project to go smoothly," Lim said.

"Even though we have not collected the full amount, we are willing to allow work to continue. So what Azhar said has no basis."

Azhar was reported by a Malay-language daily today (7 Jan) as saying that the state’s stop-work order on the double track project which stretches from Ipoh to Padang Besar was related to the federal government’s refusal to approve some of the state’s requests.

"We are not like the state opposition which thinks that everything is political," Lim said.

"If we wanted to stop this project, we would have stopped it earlier."

On the issue of compensation for squatters and residents living on land that is needed for the rail project, Lim said the state was waiting for the company to respond on the amount it was willing to give.

Gamuda group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling had reportedly said last month that the the project was delayed in Penang because of land acquisition problems related to the squatters.

Lim responded on Dec 19 by shooting a warning to Gamuda not to blame the state for the delay - theSun.