This article was originally posted here...
The Penang government has assured the public that the agonising wait for a new and refreshed Chowrasta Market will end come October.
State Local Government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the 19-month delay was due to an earlier appointed 'stagnant and slow’ contractor.
The snail-pace construction, he said, has caused the government to bear an additional RM1.67 million in costs to renovate and upgrade the iconic market along Jalan Penang.
Chow said the snag has caused the total project cost to balloon up from RM12.2 million to RM13.9 million.
“We will claim the additional cost incurred from the contractor,” he told reporters after a site visit.
The project was awarded to a contractor through an open tender on Apr 1, 2013. They were supposed to complete the upgrade by end of March last year.
Meanwhile, Chow said the state government has decided to terminate the contractors last Nov, despite being given an extension twice.
“MBPP then offered the project to the second lowest bidder of the project during the earlier open tender,” he said.
The newly awarded will build the remaining 30 per cent of what is left by the previous contractor at a cost of RM7.2mil.
The 126-year-old market that is synonymous with Penang’s heritage was built in 1890. It is touted as the best place to get Penang’s best known cookies, the tau sah pneah, jeruk and old books.
It is also touted to be the oldest market in Malaysia.
However, the market was in a dire need for repairs and the state government had called for tenders to fix them.
At present, some 90 traders are selling their wares at the market. When completed, the market could take in about 170 traders.
The number of traders outside the market would be reduced by almost half, from 138 to 66.
Once ready, some 120 parking lots would also be available.