KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 2017 : Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof today hits out at Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, the concession company of Penang Tunnel project, for trying to implicate him and his ministry in the issue of over-payment of consultant fees for the three main roads portion of the project.
He said in a statement today that he had reminded the company in several statements over the past year that the total feasibility and design fees for the project was excessive.
He pointed out that in his statement on March 30, he had said despite the Penang government defending the RM305 million cost of the studies, his ministry believed that it was excessive and beyond the usual cost guidelines for construction projects of such nature.
Zenith chairman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli had earlier today claimed that the RM177.5 million consultation fees paid for the project was well within reasonable limits.
He said the fees paid covered not only the three major roads, but the undersea tunnel as well.
He also argued that there was no objection to the costings by the Works Ministry, and the Penang branch of the Institute of Engineers’ Malaysia (IEM), when the relevant documentation was presented to them.
Zarul, who was responding to Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan on the issue said a “full-fledged” presentation was also made to Fadillah on April 6.
Fadillah, however in his statement today said the briefing given by the Penang government to him and his ministry in April was just a project overview including an explanation on why the feasibility studies on the tunnel portion of the project had been delayed.
He said the detailed cost of the projects was not part of that discussion.
“Our ministry stands by the professional opinion of the Board of Engineers which had calculated the maximum allowable fees based on the scale of rates to be RM41 million for the three main roads portion of the Penang Tunnel project.
“The RM177.5 million fees already paid by the Penang State Government for this is more than four times the maximum fees as per the gazetted scale of rates,” he added.
Fadillah also pointed out that the RM177.5 million in fees did not include any fees for the actual tunnel itself as the studies for that part of the project has yet to be completed nor has it been paid for.
“For avoidance of doubt, the Board of Engineers is the sole statutory board that governs the gazetted scale of fees for civil works in the country. This is provided for under the Registration of Engineers Act 1967 (Act 138),” he added.