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  • It should not be an emotionally charged battle between two men, but a need to clarify some doubtful points over an issue pertinent to public interests.

Sin Chew Daily

P148 Ayer Hitam has always been a safe seat for BN, anchored for many years by MCA's Wee Ka Siong.

Pakatan Harapan allocated the seat to DAP, but DAP was willing to give the seat to Amanah provided that its candidate runs on a DAP ticket.

Apparently DAP was not very keen to take on a battle it has little hope of winning.

But, things have changed now. For the past few days, DAP's leadership has been re-looking into the status of P148.

Lim Kit Siang says Ayer Hitam must be won in order to win Putrajaya.

I can't see any correlation between winning Ayer Hitam and wrestling the federal administration. At least we can understand better that PH is a step closer to Putrajaya if Mahathir wins Langkawi or Kubang Pasu.

But P148? Nothing special about the constituency. It is not where Najib, Ahmad Zahid or Hishammuddin will stand in GE14.

So, we can't help but think of Wee Ka Siong, and the fact that it is this guy who has been harping on the Penang undersea tunnel issue of late.

Is Wee Ka Siong DAP's primary target for making Ayer Hitam the party's frontline battleground, all because he has been going tough over the undersea tunnel issue?

Could it be a DAP strategy to save CM Lim by going after Wee and forcing him to leave the undersea tunnel issue alone?

Or is it just a retaliatory move aimed at teaching the MCA deputy president a lesson?

To be frank, given Wee's unbending characters, I can't see any chance of him giving in. On the contrary, it will only toughen his fighting spirit and motivate him to go even deeper into the undersea tunnel project.

From the public's point of view, I feel that we shouldn't throw in too much emotional factor into the project. It shouldn't be a one-on-one duel between LGE and WKS. In its stead, I feel that they should transcend their personal grudges to the level of public interests so that voters have the opportunity to evaluate and judge the candidates based on their own merits.

By launching a powerful offensive in Ayer Hitam, DAP is taking the Penang undersea tunnel issue to a much larger platform for more thorough public scrutiny and contention, which is itself a positive development of escalated rivalry.

Anyway, Malaysians are eager to find out why the feasibility study on the tunnel and three connecting highways should cost RM305 million, of which over RM200 million is for the three highways.

Given the highways' combined length of 20.3km, each kilometer requires more than RM10 million for feasibility study alone!

Meanwhile, construction cost for the technologically more demanding undersea tunnel is estimated at RM3.6 billion, with feasibility study cost at RM96 million.

Now the question: why should the relatively less complicated and lower-cost highways necessitate a much higher feasibility study cost?

Since CM Lim claims the state government has not come up with a single cent, then what is the logic behind land transfers to the relevant investors?

With the Chinese developer now pulling out and a local company taking its place, there has been substantial change in the project's paid-up capital. How is the state government going to handle this thing?

The report has been delayed for more than a year and there are no solid signs the project will ever be implemented.

Chow Kon Yeow says the three highways will be built first, but will this contravene the original project concept?

In the first place, does Penang ever need an undersea tunnel and the three connecting highways? Will these projects solve Penang's traffic woes or will they bring in more vehicles from the mainland? Why don't they invest in public transit as this should meet the needs of the people in Penang better?

From the Penang undersea tunnel to Ayer Hitam in Johor, a whole string of questions has popped up. It should not be an emotionally charged battle between two men, but a need to clarify some doubtful points over an issue pertinent to public interests.



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