Work on the tunnel has not even begun but already the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes is taking place in earnest.
Ewein Bhd is holding an EGM today to discuss its diversification into property development. Ahead of the EGM, some convoluted corporate restructuring has taken place in a joint venture over a plot of land swapped in connection with the tunnel deal.
It involves less than four acres out of the 110 acres that Sri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 developer E & O is supposed to hand over to the Penang state government, which in turn is supposed to hand it over to the tunnel developer, Zenith.
Ewein and Zenith are involved in a 60:40 joint venture for 3.67 acres out of this 110 acres. Initially Ewein was supposed to be pay Zenith RM80m for the land.
But the terms of the deal were reportedly changed on 27 February in favour of Zenith so that the joint venture reportedly now has to pay the whole RM133m to Zenith for the land. Read this very interesting Malay Mail report that outlines the elaborate arrangement.
All so complicated. Why?
More intriguingly, the report points out that Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, who is the point man in the tunnel development, is now a common director of Ewein Land Sdn Bhd, Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd and Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd.
This raises the question: who is Zarul and how did he suddenly emerge on the scene as a tunnel developer and now a key player in this property deal?
Does he have any political connections?
An entry in a politician’s blog in January 2012 may provide a clue. Read the second paragraph and look at the third photograph.