Media Conference Statement
by DAP Penang chairman and Member of Parliament for Tanjung Chow Kon Yeow
on Saturday, 15 June 2002
MP for Tanjung submits another emergency motion to debate Penang Outer Ring Road controversy after first
motion was rejected by Dewan Rakyat Speaker
Yesterday, the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat informed me that my motion to the House to debate the controversial RM1.02 billion Penang Outer Ring Road had been rejected because there was no urgency in the matter.
I am disappointed that the Parliament does not see fit to debate the emergency motion of public importance on Penang Outer Ring Road controversy although the project would bring about serious and long-term implications to the island state.
I do not propose to question the decision of the Speaker outside Parliament House least I would also suffer the same fate as my colleague Fong Po Kuan, the MP for Batu Gajah who was suspended for six months without allowance for questioning the Speaker's decision in rejecting her motion on the Certificate of Legal Practices scandal in December last year.
Neither do I propose to submit a substantive motion to review the Speaker's decision allowed under Standing Order 43, as it would be an exercise in futility.
However, as an MP who has been in the thick of action on the PORR controversy, I am submitting a fresh emergency motion this morning to the Speaker to debate the issue in view of recent development including the possibility of the signing of the concessionary agreement in the next few months.
Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has said yesterday that the PORR would be implemented anyway and would not be shelved even with opposition from the people.
It seems to me that the government is bend on bulldozing the PORR project despite the fierce opposition from the people that the project is unnecessary and is being carried out under a shroud of secrecy with many questions left unanswered.
The people wanted the matter to be discussed in Parliament because they want the Federal Government to review the PORR project and be transparent.
The government is still unable to answer many questions regarding the PORR project and I list a few important ones:
One, why is the government unable to repudiate the Halcrow Report which question the viability and necessity for the mega project?
Two, why should the PORR be privatized and not built with Federal allocation so that toll would not be imposed?
Three, why should the project be awarded to Peninsular Metro Works whose greatest credential is not its expertise in building highways or reclaiming the sea but its political appointment in the government; one being a two-term Senator and Umno division leader, the other former Speaker of the Penang Legislative Assembly and currently the Head of State of Penang?
Four, why is the concessionaire offered the exclusive rights to reclaim about 500 acres of sea off Gurney Drive and granted six pieces of prime State land as an incentive but still the PORR would not be toll-free as in the case of Jelutong Expressway module?
Five, why is the government unable to verify the project cost of RM1.02 billion although the present alignment would involve lesser works including the shortening of the route by four kilometers and dropping the plan to construct 4 tunnels as originally proposed?
The list could go on and Penangites have many questions for the government. However the government is more interested in bulldozing the project than answering the questions of the people.
Many MPs from Penang, both from the government and opposition benches have voiced their concern on the lack of transparency in the PORR project and I invite them to join me in raising the matter in Parliament so that the Federal Government could be lobbied to review the PORR to protect the interests of the people.