GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is seen to be trying to drag Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak into the controversial undersea tunnel project scandal by spreading a photograph showing the prime minister attending the project’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony back in April 2011.
Barisan Nasional Strategic Communication (BNSC) deputy director Eric See-To said the action could be viewed as a desperate attempt by the DAP-led Penang government to absolve itself from any allegations of corruption in the controversial project.
See-To explained that Najib’s presence then was to fulfil protocol as it also involved then-Chinese premier Wen JiaBao. He also noted that the implementation of the whole project was under the Penang government.
“The photo was taken before the request for proposal (RFP), China Railway Construction Corporation International (CRCC) being mistaken as shareholder, and before the BUCG was dropped as well as the RM305 million being fixed for the technical studies.
“It was also before the five-year delay in preparing the technical studies report, the implementation of the three paired roads project, RM800 million gross development value (GDV) approval within eight days and the signing of the toll concession for 30 years,” he added.
See-To stressed that the photo was also taken before the awarding of the 20.23ha of land reclamation rights off Gurney Drive or even the launch ceremony of a RM15 billion GDV project by the project’s special purpose vehicle (SPV).
Last Saturday, Lim during a press conference, showed a photo of Najib taken during the MoU signing ceremony, after the prime minister had claimed the project was a waste.
Meanwhile, See-To also urged Lim to explain two photos of him when witnessing two different MoUs involving the SPV since 2015.
He said Lim should also explain how the state government could be involved in both MoU signing ceremonies, and to explain his presence then.
“The first photo was dated August 2015 , where he witnessed the launch of a RM15 billion GDV luxury property project by the tunnel SPV on state land to be given as payment to the SPV.
“The second photo was dated January 2016 where Lim witnessed the pre-sale of rights to Penang state land by the tunnel SPV for RM2.83 billion to a listed company.
“How is the state government involved in both signings? Perhaps he should explain why he was there for a RM15 billion luxury property project instead of ensuring that the undersea tunnel and three paired roads projects proceeded on schedule,” he added.