Liow: Stop running away, Guan Eng (Updated)

SEPANG: MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should stop giving excuses and accept Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong's challenge for a debate over the Penang undersea tunnel project.

Liow said Lim should not divert from the issue and questions raised by the MCA deputy president, claiming it was crucial that all doubts on the tunnel project be answered.

"Everybody can see that he (Lim) is running away from the debate. He is actually looking for excuses now that he is unable to provide answers to the tunnel questions," he told a press conference after unveiling the new KLIA Ekspres train, here, yesterday.

Wee had on March 5 dared Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, to a debate on the Penang undersea tunnel project.

Lim, however, declined the challenge, saying he would only debate the issue with MCA president Liow, as it was only fitting, based on the principle of political protocol.

Liow said failure to accept Wee's challenge would only create more doubts by the rakyat that Lim indeed has "something to hide" and that the DAP-man was not transparent.

"Lim has been promoting his Penang government as competent, accountable and transparent (CAT), but he can no longer say that now. In fact, they are a government with a lot of things to hide," he said.

"Wee has been clear about his questions, he has a lot to ask. So Guan Eng, please answer the questions. No need to run away," he added.

On Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's statement on Monday that Umno wishes to have the Bandar Tun Razak's seat back from MCA, Liow said any questions on seat allocation would not be discussed in public.

Meanwhile, Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) chief executive officer Noormah Mohd Noor said the company expects a 5% increase in ridership this year for both its rail services, KLIA Express and KLIA Transit, following the launch of its three new trains yesterday.

She said that ERL ridership dropped over 15% following its fare hike in 2016 when it increased from RM35 to RM55 for a one way trip from KL Sentral to KLIA, but that ridership was expected to increase slightly this year.

"Last year we had about 8.7 million passengers, down from about 11 million in 2015. But we are expecting about 9 million ridership this year following this launch," she said.