MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong once again challenged Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to debate the Penang undersea tunnel project.
He said Lim previously rejected the challenge to hold a debate about the matter, as Dr Wee was not the party president at the time.
“I am now the MCA president and, according to Lim, he can debate me.
“However, if Lim continues to chicken out by giving other excuses, I do not mind debating Chow Kon Yeow, in his capacity as the Penang Chief Minister,” he told news portal Free Malaysia Today on Friday (Aug 30).
In March last year, Lim had turned down Dr Wee’s challenge, as he will not debate with MCA’s “number two”.
The Ayer Hitam MP also criticised Chow’s earlier statement that the cost of the project will remain at RM6.34bil.
He questioned how a project which costs RM6.34bil six years ago would cost the same in 2026, which is when the construction is expected to begin.
He said it appeared as though the inflation and increase in land prices in Penang were not taken into account.
Dr Wee added that Penang Deputy Chief Minister Dr P. Ramasamy had previously said the land was only worth RM475 per sq ft, instead of RM1,300.
However, he said it had been that reported that Maybank was assisting the concessionaire to sell part of the land as payment for the undersea tunnel project at RM2.83bil, or RM1,300 per sq ft.
Dr Wee had previously said the project’s costs would have exceeded RM20bil, as the land along Gurney Drive beach was the most expensive.
He had also questioned why the state government did not take any action against the contractors building the tunnel, despite it being years late in delivery.
The state government is paying for the mega project via a land swap of 44.5ha of reclaimed land in Seri Tanjung Pinang and a toll concession for the tunnel of not less than 30 years.