Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Komtar, George Town on Saturday, 20th November 2010:
Kong Cho Ha should explain what is wrong for MMC-Gamuda JV Sdn Bhd to give letters of guarantee protecting the public against floods when the Transport Ministry can issue letters of guarantee to private companies embroiled in the RM12.85 billion Port Klang Free Trade Zone scandal
The obsession by MCA leaders for mega projects instead of people's interests is very unhealthy. Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha has continued his unjustified criticism against the stop-work order on the RM 13 billion Ipoh-Padang Besar Electrified Double Track Project (EDTP) even though the stop-work order was lifted when the contractor complied with Penang's request to issue written letters of guarantee to protect the public against major floods.
Kong's insistence that the stop-work order should not have been issued in the first place because the contractor can give any briefings, misses the critical point of protecting public interest with written letters of guarantee. I fail to understand how the state government has done a U-turn by backing down and lifting the stop-work order, when the contractor has fully complied with our 2 conditions in writing that it:-
Kong Cho Ha should explain what is wrong for MMC-Gamuda JV Sdn Bhd to give letters of gurantee protecting the public against floods when the Transport Ministry can issue letters of guarantee to private companies embroiled in the RM 12.85 billion Port Klang Free Trade Zone scandal? Or are private companies more important than the public?
To-date the contractor has been co-operative and not protested when the stop-work order was issued. Only Kong has protested. I wish to remind Kong that the people are the real bosses, not the contractor nor the Transport Ministry.
Kong even twisted this issue into one where the state government is trying to make life difficult by not working with the federal government on mega projects. Such attacks are baseless as the state government would not have otherwise approved this RM13 billion project.
Kong should be clear that the issue is simply one between the state government's insistence that the contractor gave a written guarantee on flooding and Kong's insistence that there is no need for one. The matter is closed when the contractor has fully complied with the state government's requirement of a written guarantee.
The major floods in Kedah have shown that the normal flood control measures in place by the contractor after full consultation with JPS and JKR no longer works. The state government has thereby chosen to adopt an aggressive pro-active approach in flood crisis management by adopting pre-emptive measures aimed at either avoiding a mitigating the adverse impact.
Kong should realize that the peole's homes, livelihood and billions of ringgit in investments high-tech industrial parks in Prai and Bukit Minyak are at stake. Penang and our 1.6 million people just can not afford another Kedah-type flood and all preventive measures must be taken to ensure that in the event such floods occur, losses can be minimized.
*Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister