BUTTERWORTH: The first phase of the Penang Sentral transportation hub is expected to be completed this year, almost a decade after the ground-breaking ceremony by then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Planner Goh Choon Aik, who was appointed by the Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), the developer for the project, said a 10-storey building is coming up on the former Butterworth bus station site. He said the building will have shops, ticketing counters, prayer rooms, a food court and a nursery to accommodate the needs of travellers. He said 900 parking spaces will be provided for the convenience of those using transport facilities there. Goh said Penang Sentral played an important role in streamlining transportation in the state as the place was a hub for long and short distance buses, taxis, ferries and trains. Goh, who has been involved in the project since 2007, expressed his confidence the project will improve the quality of transportation in Penang. He said other phases will complement the transportation element as plans for a hotel and commercial building were being drawn up. "MRCB, the developer for the Kuala Lumpur Sentral project, has also designed Penang Sentral along similar lines," he told theSun recently. Goh said the entire project was divided into eight phases where the second to fourth phases consisted of a shopping complex, three 36-storey office blocks and a 35-storey hotel. "The other phases are still being worked out," he said. On the project delays, Goh said the developer faced land ownership issues and that was why construction only started in 2015. He said these landowners included the federal government, state government, the concessionaire for the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR), POS Malaysia and KTM Bhd. "It is challenging to resolve these issues, I spent about four years addressing this matter," he said, adding that measures to ensure construction work did not affect the ferries and train operations which were needed to be put in place too.