Zenith Clears The Air Over Undersea Tunnel Probe

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GEORGE TOWN, Feb 27 – In its first formal statement after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had relaunched an investigation into the proposed RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel, its project delivery partner, Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC), has reaffirmed its commitment to undertake the mega infrastructure project.

In a statement released via social media, CZC said the completed feasibility studies, detailed design and detailed environmental impact assessment works showed that it has the financial and technical strength to deliver. “CZC, as the principal contractor, is apolitical and reaffirms its commitment to move ahead towards the construction phase of the project.”

The statement was issued by its board of directors. Barring any unfortunate circumstances, the construction works for the undersea tunnel is targeted to start in 2023 and be completed by 2027. The 6km undersea tunnel was designed to link Bagan Ajam in Butterworth with the scenic Gurney Drive on the island.

The project was supposed to see the construction of three paired highways which essentially link Gurney Drive, Air Itam and the tourism belt of Batu Ferringhi to the sole expressway on the island – The Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway. In its online portal, its senior executive director is Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, whereas the chairman is former federal minister Tan Sri Azmi Khalid.

Touching for the first time on the MACC investigation, the board acknowledged that the project is under investigation by the MACC and that CZC has and will continue to extend its fullest co-operation in assisting the investigation. “We have the full confidence in the professionalism of the MACC to complete their investigation in due course.”

Any speculation, insinuation or aspersions cast upon CZC or the project by any parties are deemed as defamatory, and the board reserves the right to take appropriate actions against such parties. It categorially stated the following:

>> Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd has always been the single largest shareholder of the CZC, while China Railways Construction Corporation Ltd (CRCC) Malaysia Berhad is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor from the time of the request for proposal submission until now.

The earlier withdrawal of the minority shareholders of CZC, in particular the Beijing Urban Construction Group Co Ltd, was purely a corportate decision.

It does not impair the financial and technical strength of the CZC.

>> The paid-up capital of CZC has progressively increased since its incorporation as a special purpose vehicle. The paid-up capital now stands at RM26.5 million, which is well capitalised to undertake the RM305 million preliminary works.

>> CZC takes cognizance that its capital funding needs to be adequately increased at the appropriate time as the project enters into its construction phase.

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